Alexander Gray

Research Fellow, Security & Extremism Read Full Bio

Dr Paul Stott

Head of Security and Extremism Read Full Bio

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Missing Islamic State terrorist sentenced to life in prison and stripped of Belgian nationality

Nov 4, 2021

 

Hicham Chaib, a former leader of Sharia4Belgium has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison and stripped of his Belgian nationality by the Antwerp Assize Court. He was being prosecuted for the killing of an unidentified prisoner in March 2016 in Syria. His trial proceeded despite claims in 2017 and 2018 that he had been killed fighting for Islamic State.

According to reports from De Morgen, the court declared:

Chaib rejects our fundamental values and has always been a supporter of jihadist Salafism. He poses a threat to public safety. There have been no signs of remorse or repentance. Nor that he would have repented or distanced himself from the ideology of IS. Strong punishment is in order.

Sharia4Belgium was an Islamist organisation calling for Belgium to become an Islamic state. It was designated a terrorist organisation by a Belgian judge in February 2015. Originating in Antwerp, it recruited the first Belgian fighters for the Syrian jihad before it disbanded ahead of its proscription. Sharia4Belgium took its inspiration from Islam4UK, one of a series of groups, the best known of which is Al-Muhajiroun, led by Anjem Choudary, who was released from a British jail on 19 October 2018.

In 2012 Choudary and Chaib met at an event in Utrecht, Holland. Video footage of the two men embracing subsequently surfaced, at a lecture in which Choudary offered advice on how to ‘overthrow regimes.’ In 2013 Belgian activists travelled to Lebanon to meet Omar Bakri Muhammad, the founder of Al-Muhajiroun. Shortly afterwards Hicham Chaib was one of a number of Belgians who left for Syria, where he reportedly went on to lead Islamic State’s religious police in Raqaa. From his base in Syria, Chaib celebrated the 2016 terrorist attacks on Brussels, and warned that further attacks would follow.

Hicham Chaib’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Alexander Gray

Research Fellow, Security & Extremism Read Full Bio

Dr Paul Stott

Head of Security and Extremism Read Full Bio

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