The Belgian government issued a private diplomatic protest to France this week over what it perceives as the French leadership's unfair blaming of Belgium for Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, saying that homegrown jihadism is as much a problem for France as it is for Belgium.
The protest, made by Prime Minister Charles Michel's chief diplomatic adviser to the French ambassador to Belgium on Tuesday, comes after international scrutiny has focused on the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, home to at least three of the attackers and the militant believed to be the plot's architect.
Belgian officials said only one of the three teams that carried out the Paris attack was linked to Molenbeek, and that France was attempting to point the finger at Belgian failings to cover up its own domestic lapses in countering Islamic extremism.
"We were quite firm in our message," said one senior Belgian official briefed on the démarche. "We do not ignore that jihadism and radicalism has a source here in Belgium. But France has to deal with its own problem as well."