The 21st Century Phenomenon


 Belgian prosecutors have begun, on 09/29/2014, the country’s biggest-ever terrorism trial, accusing 46 men of being members of a terrorist organisation that indoctrinated young men to fight in Syria. Sharia4belgium started planning to send members to Syria in 2011, when Nabil Kasmi and Fouad Belkacem, two of the defendants, traveled to London to meet with Anjem Choudary.  

Only 9 of those charged were present in court in Antwerpen  on Monday, including the alleged ringleader Fouad Belkacem. 32 (pic).  The other 8 defendants present in court were ; 1. Jejoen Bontinck; 2. Hakim Elouassaki; 3. Elias Taketloune; 4. Walid L., 23; 5. Mohamed E.Y., 30; 6. Michaël Delefortrie, 25; 7. El Ouazna N., 51; 8. Bilal E.M.  


1.  Jejoen Bontinck, 19, is the youngest defendant, originally a  Catholic who gained fame as a teenager in Belgium when he appeared on a dance-competition show named “Move Like Michael Jackson”. Fame turned to notoriety after the Belgian media reported he had converted to Islam, joined Sharia4Belgium and traveled to Syria.

 According to his lawyer  was later held prisoner by Islamic State along with James Foley, the U.S. journalist whom the group beheaded in August 2014, He escaped, returned to Belgium and is cooperating with Antwerp prosecutors after spending two months in jail and providing information about James  Foley’s possible location before his murder, they say.

2. Hakim Elouassaki, 22, the younger brother of Houssein Elouassaki, from the Brussels suburb of Vilvoorde, who Belgian authorities allege fought with Jabhat al-Nusra and executed a civilian prisoner in Syria. Hakin Elouassaki’s lawyer doesn’t deny his client fought in Syria but has denied he executed a prisoner.

3. Elias Taketloune, 24,  from Vilvoorde who was imprisoned after returning from Syria. The others were allegedly still in Syria, with many possibly dead in the fighting there. Prosecutors said the accused belonged to Sharia4Belgium, a group disbanded in 2012.  



 * Nabil Kasmi, 22, who  left for Syria’s battlefields in 05/2012. Considered to be  the first jihadist recruited by  Sharia4Belgium dispatched from Antwerp. In 11/2011 Nabil Kasmi traveled to Lebanon to meet with Omar Bakri Muhammad.  

* Houssien Elouassaki, 24, also known as Abu Falluja,  is the older brother of Hakim Elouassaki, repatriated badly wounded in 2013 and is still imprisoned. He admitted he executed a man because he didn’t dare to disobey the orders of his commander.


 * Hicham Chaib, 32, a native of a town near Antwerp,  has climbed the ranks of I.S.I.S, the Antwerp police official says. Haicham Chaib was featured in a “Greetings” video released online last month by Islamic State on Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

 The other defendants were identified as Feisal Yamoun. 31, Said M’Nari, and Brahim Bali, 28.

Hicham Chaib, a native of a town near Antwerp,  has climbed the ranks of I.S.I.S, the Antwerp police official says. Haicham Chaib was featured in a “Greetings” video released online last month by Islamic State on Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

 Members, the court heard, approached young men and a few teenage women in Antwerpen and Vilvoorde, north of Brussels, to invite them to their centre in Antwerpen where they were indoctrinated and readied for their trip to Syria. “The clear aim was to prepare them for armed combat,” Luc Festraets, a prosecutor, told the court.

“Belkacem’s words can only be interpreted as a call to violence and jihad,” said Ann Fransen, another prosecutor in the case.  

 Once in Syria, the recruits joined organisations such as the Jabhat al- Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and groups which now aligned with or part of the I.S.I.S group, prosecutors said.

 Quoting from tapped telephone conversations and statements by one of the suspects, who will be a key prosecution witness, Ann Fransen said the accused were deeply entwined with the groups inspired by fighting in Syria.

Investigators said Fouad Belkacem never travelled to Syria, unlike most of the members of the group, but he was the “catalyst” who prompted many to go and fight there. The belgian authorities believe Fouad Belkacem and Sharia4belgium are behind 80% of about over 300 Belgian Muslim volunteers who went to fight in Syria (see – Western-Jihadists).


On 02/11/2015 Fouad Belkacem was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. The other 45 members were given sentences, some suspended, ranging between three and 15 years. Only seven of the accused were at the court for the ruling. Most others are said to still be in Syria, and some may already be dead.

 Jejoen Bontinck, got a suspended sentence of 40 months. He made headlines after his father travelled to Syria and brought him home.  Jejoen Bontinck later appeared in the trial as a prosecution witness.

21-year-old convert Brian De Mulder, one of the defendants, is still believed to be fighting, or dead, in Syria.



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