Belgium Islamist ‘no different to Pussy Riot’, trial hears

A hardline Islamist accused of inspiring dozens of young Belgians to fight jihad in Syria is no different from feminist activists Femen and Pussy Riot, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Fouad Belkacem is on trial in the Belgian city of Antwerp with 45 others, most still at large, for suspected membership of a group believed to be sending jihadist fighters to Syria.

A Salafist ideologue known for his virulent street sermons and online videos, Belkacem is accused of leading Sharia4Belgium, the radical group that was officially dissolved two years ago, but is accused of still actively recruiting fighters.

“His only goal was to provoke, just like Femen and Pussy Riot,” Belkacem’s lawyer John Maes was quoted as saying by Belga news agency.

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