Three years after the slaying of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in what prosecutors say was a jihadist terrorist attack, the institution opened its first new exhibition.
“Belgium, Welcoming Land,” which opened last month, explores the history of immigration to the country through photographs, testimonies and other artifacts. The Brussels museum reopened briefly after the 2014 attack, but has been closed for renovations for the past several months.
The exhibition will remain open until March 19, which will be the sixth anniversary of the murder of four Jews in Toulouse, France, also by an Islamist.
A French national who fought in Syria, Mehdi Nemmouche, is standing trial for carrying out the attack in Belgium and killing two Israeli tourists, a worker of the Jewish museum and a volunteer. Like Nemmouche, the Toulouse killer was born in Europe to a family originating in the Middle East.
Pascale Falek-Alhadeff, the curator of the new exhibition, said on the Belgian broadaster RTBF that the exhibit was meant also to encourage the creation and opening in Belgium of a museum dedicated to immigration.
“This exposition is a wake-up call, reminding us that in 2017, in view of recent events, it is more necessary now than ever before to have such a museum,” Falek-Alhadeff said in reference to a museum devoted to immigration. The problems connected to immigration “need to be treated through historical and a historical consciousness, complemented by art.”
However, she added, the exhibit also underlines cultural commonalities among immigrants as a means for countering intolerance.