An Islamic teacher living in Brussels convicted of multiple sexual offenses and violence against students has evaded a prison sentence.
Although the Public Prosecution Service demanded a four-year prison sentence against the Islam teacher, the court’s judge saw enough mitigating circumstances to hand the teacher a three year suspended sentence, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
In addition to his suspended sentence, the 53-year-old Islamic teacher, and a sexual predator was banned from teaching for 10 years to prevent him from coming into close contact with children.
Despite getting off scot-free, the defendant continues to deny all of the charges against him. Reports from Belgian media suggest that there’s a good chance that he may appeal the conviction.
In a statement given in court, the defendant said: “Nothing is quite right. None of those messages or inappropriate touches and none of the alleged strokes. I am indeed strict but I never went over the top. I always had a professional relationship with my students based on respect. Many of them also came to talk to me about their problems. Why do those students accuse me? No idea.”
But despite his claims of innocence, the Islamic teacher is far from a saint. In 2015, the Islamic teacher made the news after he glorified the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. After a history teacher and one of his colleagues had condemned the attack, the Islamic teacher started a petition against him. Students who refused to sign his petition were reportedly beaten.
Although he was suspended temporarily by the school that employed him, the Royal Antheneum Leonardo da Vinci in Anderlecht, he was allowed to return not long after. Following the teacher’s return, numerous complaints were filed against him in the years leading up to his case.