Identity vs. integration: Radical Islamist group ‘freaks out’ Belgian community

Identity vs. integration: Radical Islamist group ‘freaks out’ Belgian community
The Islamic fundamentalist group Shariah4Belgium has been criticized for its aggressive stance and lack of inter-religious tolerance. Belgian Muslims say they feel threatened by the group’s ideology, which they fear scares people away from Islam.

­Shariah4Belgium came under the spotlight after it opened the country’s first Sharia court, a move which put it on a collision course with the country’s nationalists. The Belgian far-right Vlaams Belang party opposes the Muslim courts, maintaining that all legal disputes should be addressed in the country’s civil judicial system. Leading member Filip Dewinter claims Shariah4Belgium’s leadership said he should be killed for expressing his views.

In January, an Antwerp prosecutor recommended two years in prison and a fine of 550 euros for the group’s head, Foaud Belkacem, for inciting hatred and violence against non-Muslims. That is in addition to 14 police court convictions, and criminal convictions for robbery, defamation and violence.

Shariah4Belgium believes that its role in the Belgian community is to express its believes and values, but local Muslims say that the group’s aggressive stance creates a false and frightening image of the country’s Islamic community.

RT’s Tesa Arcilla has been in Belgium to investigate the story.