7 September 2016
Sven Lau, a German, known for his attempts to enforce Islamic laws in German public spaces, went on trial on Tuesday for allegedly supporting a terrorist organisation active in the Syrian civil war.
The 35-year-old, who converted to Islam in his teens, was accused of supporting a terrorist group known by the acronym JAMWA, which switched allegiance from Islamic State to al-Qaeda last year.
The court in Duesseldorf has scheduled 30 trial days, during which prosecutors are expected to present evidence that Lau a.k.a. Abu Adam recruited people on behalf of JAMWA.
He was also accused of providing the group with money and equipment.
Prosecutors said that one of the men Lau recruited is Ismail I, who was sentenced to four-and-half years in prison for his activities as a foreign fighter by a court in Stuttgart.
Lau, a follower of Salafism, an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, the court said.
He gained international prominence in 2014, when he founded a group called the Sharia Police.
Members of the organisation patrolled the streets in the western city of Wuppertal in an effort to enforce Sharia laws against alcohol consumption, gambling and listening to music among adherents of Islam.
The Sharia Police’s activities are subject to prosecution in a separate case.
The group fuelled fears about the perceived Islamisation of Germany at a time when the flow of mostly Muslim refugees from countries, including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, was starting to gather pace.
In 2015, Lau was arrested on suspicion of recruiting fighters on behalf of Islamic State, but he beat the charges because of a lack of evidence in the case.