Fundamentalist preacher faces terrorism charges
A fundamentalist Muslim preacher who started a “sharia police” force in western Germany has now been charged with aiding a terrorist group in Syria, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
Sven Lau, whose religious enforcement group in the Rhineland city of Wuppertal caused national and international outrage in 2014, is accused of obtaining night-vision equipment for a Syrian jihadist group known as Jamwa, which has been linked to Isis.
He was a “point of contact for those willing to fight and travel abroad, especially from the Salafist [fundamentalist] scene in the Düsseldorf metropolitan area,” a statement from federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe read.
Lau, a German convert to fundamentalist Islam, also allegedly supplied the Jamwa group with three night-vision devices in 2013.
He made several trips to Syria himself and aided two men in their travels to the war-torn country, the statement continues.
While parts of Jamwa have since fought against Isis, prosecutors say that the branch Lau supported remains an ally of the notorious terror group.
Charges were filed at the upper state court in Düsseldorf on April 8th, almost five months after Lau was arrested in Mönchengladbach.
The so-called "shariah police" group briefly went on patrol wearing bright orange vests in Wuppertal in 2014 before announcing they would shut down in the face of widespread anger.
Although prosecutors investigated the case, they found that those involved had not committed any crime with their orange vests, as they were not imitating police uniforms.