Friday, March 18, 2016
Suspect captured in Brussels rumored by media sources to have frequently gay hangouts, but purpose is murky
There are numerous stories resurfacing that Salah Abdeslam, captured with others in Brussels today in connection with the Paris attacks on 11/13, had frequented gay bars in an area called “Jacques Quarter”, particularly in the Halloween season before the attacks. The stories had been mentioned right after the attacks in some tabloids but were largely ignored by major news outlets.
Towleroad gives a pretty detailed summary of all the stories, including a discussion today by CNN analyst Michael Weiss with Brooke Balwdin. According to the story, some bartenders thought he could be a prostitute, or pretending to be one to roll customers, or perhaps commit robberies or look for other targets. But another theory is that intelligence has floated the story to make it even harder for him to return to Syria and rejoin ISIS, but that was probably unlikely anyway since he “failed” in the attack. ISIS is known, of course, to have brutally executed homosexuals in cities it conquers. And radical ideology often seems aimed at forcing women to bear men children at men's will.
The New York Post had posted a related story about Salah’s reported activities on Nov. 22 here.
How much of this really holds could become clear as he is interrogated further in France. The major media outlets (outside of Weiss on CNN) have not continued to report this aspect of the story much this time around.