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Belgium: Former ISIS recruiter attending school with youngsters

The jihadist was released after five years in prison for having radicalized and pushed several young people to join the Islamic State in Syria. Jean-Louis Denis has begun his training in Dutch at a school in Belgium. Parents of the children there have expressed their shock.

Published: January 20, 2020, 6:01 am

    Grimbergen

    Convicted in 2013 to ten years in prison, before his sentence was reduced to five years imprisonment on appeal in November 2016, Jean-Louis Denis, known as “the submissive”, was released in early 2019.

    He is a well-known figure of Belgian jihadism, who was once the subject of a documentary programme Strip-tease after his extrication. Denis is however still happy to explain to anyone who wants to hear that his Salafist Muslim faith has not been shaken.

    Once his sentence was served, the individual, who is to be reintegrated, began training in Dutch, at the request of the VDAB, the body responsible for employment in the Flemish region. The problem is that it is at a primary school where the lessons are given, indicated the Belgian site RTL info.

    It must be said that according to this individual, no less extreme than a certain Jawad Bendaoud, the “Deradex” section in which he was detained in prison, and which is reserved for radicalized prisoners, only “strengthened people in their convictions”, he told RTBF in early December.

    Parents of students at the school have expressed their legitimate concern. “I was terrified. I went back to school immediately when I saw him come back. I went to see the management who knew very well why I was coming. The school just told me they couldn’t do anything. The premises in which they taught were in the school, but belonged to the CVO, where he is taking lessons in Dutch,” says Sylvie, a mother of one of the students.

    The school is in Strombeek-Bever, a town with approximately 11 500 inhabitants in the municipality of Grimbergen, in the province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium.

    One of the victims of the Brussels attacks in 2016 who has already paid the price for Islamist barbarism, is particularly shocked about the presence of Denis.

    “I think we also have to see how we could improve the law of insertion, as we have done for example for pedophiles, an accessory ban sentence… It could notably be to prohibit them from having activities or being in contact with young people like in this case,” Nathalie Colette-Bascqz, member of the association, told RTL info.

    “For me, it’s as if every day I take my children to death. For me, it was a shock, I relived the attacks again. How can you make him take lessons in a school where there are children?” she lamented.

    Her viewpoint is naturally shared by the association of victims of the attack, the Life4Brussels association, which recalled that Jean-Louis Denis was found guilty of inciting several young people to Islamist jihad.

    The Belgian party Vlaams Belang has meanwhile filed a complaint against the posters in Arabic of the city of Ghent.

    According to the Flemish nationalist political party, these posters, also translated into Turkish, do not respect linguistic legislation.

    The Vlaams Belang party, which promotes Flemish nationalism, has filed complaints against posters posted in the commune of Ghent, some 50 kilometers west of Brussels. The political party rebelled to see these messages intended for the public, informing them about the presence of an area of ​​low emissions – greenhouse gases – translated into Arabic and Turkish, reported Le Soir. It is an initiative that contravenes language legislation, according to the party.

    These posters, hung as part of a major information campaign on low emission areas, to be started in February, are thus in violation of existing laws, according to Vlaams Belang. Ten explanatory posters were placed near mosques, including the same message in Dutch, Turkish and Arabic.

    Alderman Tine Heyse, assistant to the mayor, sees no problem with this trilingual display. According the alderman, this highly targeted information campaign respects the law.

    But according to Vlaams Belang: “Public services communication with citizens and businesses must be in the administrative language of the town or city, in this case Dutch,” said Johan Deckmyn, member of the nationalist party, in comments reported by Belgian daily newspaper.

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