Founder of Germany’s ‘Sharia police’ on trial for supporting extremism
Lau is a follower of Salafism, an ultra-conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam. (AFP/File)
Sven Lau, a German-born firebrand known for his alleged attempts to enforce Islamic laws in German public spaces, faces trial on Tuesday for 'supporting a terrorist organization' active in the Syrian civil war.
The 35-year-old, who was born in the west German city of Moenchengladbach and converted to Islam in his teens, is accused of supporting a militant extremist group known by the acronym Jamwa, which switched allegiance from Daesh to al-Qaeda last year.
The court in Duesseldorf has scheduled 30 trial days, during which prosecutors are expected to present evidence that Lau - also known as Abu Adam - recruited people on behalf of Jamwa and provided the group with money and equipment.
Lau gained international prominence in 2014, when he founded a group called the Sharia Police that patrolled the streets in the western city of Wuppertal, allegedly enforcing Islamic laws against alcohol consumption, gambling and listening to music upon other members of his faith.
Lau is a follower of Salafism, an ultra-conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam.
The Sharia Police's activities fuelled fears about the perceived Islamization of Germany at a time when an influx 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 Daesh, but he beat the charges because of a lack of evidence in the case.
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