ANTWERP (JTA) — Twin brothers from Gaza seeking asylum in Belgium filmed themselves roller skating through an Antwerp Jewish neighborhood with a Palestinian flag.
Adham and Amjad Salah were detained and questioned on Tuesday evening following a complaint over alleged harassment and intimidation filed by the Forum of Jewish Organizations in the Flemish region. Police defined the act as provocation and warned the men, in their 20s, to stop, Belgian officials said.
A video from Saturday of the brothers, who call themselves Skatetwins on social media, has received more than two million views on YouTube. They are seen skating quickly through the neighborhood on Shabbat commenting on security arrangements there while flying the flag and playing an Arab-language song titled “I am Palestinian.”
(The video has since been made private)
Among the reactions of local Jews they filmed are one man the brothers shadowed on the street at night who looks back at them apprehensively. They approach a haredi Orthodox man and ask him to say “free Palestine.”
The Salahs also showed themselves skating past some soldiers defiantly. Thousands of troops were deployed in Belgian cities in 2015 following deadly jihadist terrorist attacks in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and at a kosher supermarket.
Anti-Semitic incidents against Antwerp Jews, notably by those from a Muslim background, are common.
Michael Freilich, a Belgian-Jewish lawmaker from Antwerp, called the twins’ actions ”intimidating, dangerous and inciting ethnic groups against one another.”
Israel’s ambassador to Belgium, Emmanuel Nachson, called the Salahs “morons” on Twitter and their actions “shameful, tasteless, cheap and childish provocation.”