Belgium jails Islamist recruiter Fouad Belkacem in Sharia4Belgium terror trial

An Antwerp court sentenced to 12 years in jail the leader of a radical Islamic organisation that worked as a recruiting centre for jihadist groups fighting in Syria in one of the biggest terror trial in Belgium’s history.

Fouad Belkacem and another 44 Islamist militants were found guilty of terror-related offences over their connection to Sharia4Belgium, a dissolved group deemed by the court as a terrorist organisation that worked to violently replace democracy with a strict interpretation of sharia law.

The group allegedly brainwashed numerous young Muslims, recruiting them to join the Islamic State (Isis) or the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front.

A total of 46 people were originally indicted, but only a handful, including Belkacem, appeared in court, as most are believed to be fighting or having died in Syria.