The Belgian Syria fighter Brian De Mulder (19) is alive and still in contact with friends back home. He recently obtained a smartphone and used that device to connect with his Facebook account several times during the past month. Only a few days after his reappearance online, one of his youth friends converted himself to islam too.
“Abu Qasem now uses Facebook for Android”, the timeline of Brian De Mulder — ‘Abu Qasem Brazili for his friends — stated on the 30th of June. Apparently he found a smartphone in the war zone. Back in April, he announced to his family that he didn’t want to get in touch with them anymore. But he does want to hear from his old friends, since he accepted 26 new Facebook friends recently. At least one is another extremist fighting in Syria, but most of them are Belgian youngsters not connected to the radical islamic scene — not yet, at least.
It’s impossible to know what goes on between Brian and those friends in their private messages. But it can hardly be coincidence that his old time best friend converted to islam only a few days after Brian did reconnect. On the 1st of July, Gino Dos Santos still posted rap music on his Facebook account, but the next day he declared himself a muslim. On the 10th of July, he wished his Facebook friends a happy ramadan, and Brian replied publicly visible: “Insha’Allah, may God bless you.” On the 12th of July, Brian responded to the call for ‘takbir’ Gino had posted. “Allahu Akbar”, he wrote — God is great.
It is clear that Gino has chosen for the radical islam from the start. In one of his messages, he called the mujahideen “the greatest heroes of our time”. Hardly 20 years old, Gino is already quite known in the Antwerp rap scene — as the artist ‘Grote Broer’ (Big Brother), playing in the band ‘The Brotherhood Gang’ and sharing the stage with the now famous musician Coely only last year. He has his roots in Angola and has been a friend of Brian since they were kids.
They lived in the same neighbourhood, played soccer in the same team and spent a lot of time together, Brian’s mother confirmed to the newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ — who broke the news of their renewed contact. “Gino’s mother is terribly afraid now that her son will go to Syria too”, Brian’s mother told. “She called me a few days ago to ask for advice.” Gino’s mother could not be reached for comment. He himself flatly denied recent contacts with Brian De Mulder, giving no explanation for the proof on his Facebook account.