Press Release: Prosecuting Fouad Belkacem a Simulated Trial with Political Aims

Prosecuting Fouad Belkacem a Simulated Trial with Political Aims

Yesterday the criminal court in the Belgian city of Antwerp condemned Fouad Belkacem, leader of The Sharia Group in Belgium, sentencing him to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros. The Court claims that Belkacem was responsible for recruiting young people, and then sending them to Syria to participate in the fighting there. This “simulated” trial which lasted two years, and which has been described as being the largest against a terrorist attack in Belgium, perhaps it can be said that: it is not based on any evidence, and that the goal behind it is to send a political message.

When talking about a trial on terrorism, there must first be a terrorist attack or a plan to carry out a terrorist act, and this is what the issue of Fouad Belkacem completely misses; Belkacem did not carry a weapon, and there is no single piece of evidence that he was calling for violence. As for displaying mysterious telephone records and a testimony of one person, this cannot be adopted or considered material as proof to convict him, and it is known that the only thing that Belkacem was doing is promoting his ideas but in a provocative manner. So is this something that necessitates imprisonment in the first place, let alone sentence him for 12 years?!

It is worth mentioning that Belkacem had been imprisoned a while ago because of his call to hatred – as they claim – after which some young people went to Syria, and these young people who headed to Syria were not members of the group “Sharia in Belgium”, and a large portion of them do not know Belkacem nor do they know his people, so by doing so – the Belgian authorities – criminalized fighting the criminal Bashar al-Assad, although Bashar and the Western politicians are the source of terrorism and injustice in the Islamic world. But the question that remains is that Belkacem was detained at the time so how is he being accused of recruiting young people to fight in Syria?!

Also not to mention the subject of double standards, which appears like one of the most important features of Western thought, it cannot be ignored in this case. For example: Why was Filip Dewinter, leader of the party “Vlaams Belang”, exempted two days before prosecution although he designed a computer game that incites violence against Muslims, and in spite of the many reports submitted to the authorities against him? Moreover, a young Muslim man at the age of 17 years was beaten up in the same manner showed in the computer game a few days after it was released.

There is also a neo-Nazi organization calling itself the “Blood and Honor” organization, where authorities found weapons with the members of this group, and they were preparing plans to carry out assassinations in Belgium, however, they were trialed and sentenced to prison to terms ranging from one year to five years!! This comparison shows how the trial of Belkacem was unjust and unfair, and also shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the main reason behind this provision is the fact that Belkacem is a Muslim, and therefore his case was deemed important, and what also helped this provision was that the judges were influenced by the negative public opinion with regard to the Group of Sharia in Belgium when they issued their judgment.

This Court was only a farce play and the verdict was a political one, not criminal.

Okay Pala
Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in The Netherlands