European Court: conviction of Belkacem is upheld
Fouad Belkacem is not exonerated by the European Court: his video messages in which he, among other things, calls for fighting against non-Muslims do not fall under freedom of expression. The ruling of the European Court is good news for Unia. In the past Unia has repeatedly filed complaints against Sharia4Belgium, and we were a civil party in the case in the criminal court of Antwerp.
The spokesman of the radical Muslim organisation Sharia4Belgium that was dissolved in 2012 was convicted in 2012 for incitement to hatred and violence. He appealed and then also challenged his conviction in appeal in the Court of Cassation. That appeal too was denied.
Belkacem then turned to the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court has now confirmed that incitement to hatred and violence is involved and has upheld the conviction.
"We are pleased with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," says Unia. "The boundaries of freedom of expression were exceeded by Sharia4Belgium. There was clearly incitement to hatred and violence and that can never be accepted. We therefore saw no other way than to have the statements judged by the court."
Conviction for administrator of Facebook page of ‘Vlaamse Verdedigings Liga’
The administrator of the Facebook page of the Vlaamse Verdedigings Liga [Flemish Defence League] has received a ten months’ suspended sentence. According to the Antwerp court he incited his followers to racism. Unia was a civil party.
Unia worried about anti-Semitism in Belgium
Unia will today again press in anti-Semitism hearings in the Belgian Senate for the reintroduction of an anti-Semitism watchdog. The organisation will further ask Minister Kris Peeters, now responsible for Equal Opportunities, to take the first steps towards an inter-federal action plan against discrimination and racism.
More employment discrimination cases reported to Unia in 2017
Last year Unia opened a total of 2,017 cases of situations where people felt they were the subject of discrimination. This represents a 6% increase over 2016 (1,907 cases). Instances of employment discrimination were the most frequently opened cases at Unia.
Unia reacts to the report on discrimination by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
Out of all survey-respondents of North African and Turkish origin who experienced discrimination in the past year in Belgium, 20% said it had occurred on the job market, while the European average on this point is 12%. This figure was brought to Unia’s attention in the Second EU-MIDIS report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).