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Belkacem v. Belgium, dec., No. 34367/14, ECtHR (Second Section), 27 June 2017


Conviction for publishing some videos on YouTube concerning the promotion of the Sharia law amongst non-Muslim groups. Lawful interference with freedom of expression. 


1. Statements aimed at stirring up hatred, discrimination and violence towards a group of people who do not practice Islam are incompatible with the values of tolerance, social peace and non-discrimination guaranteed by the Convention. By virtue of Article 17 ECHR, such expressions do not enjoy the protection of Article 10 ECHR. 

2. The fact of defending Sharia while calling for violence to establish it could be regarded as “hate speech”. Contracting States are entitled to oppose political movements based on religious fundamentalism.
(In the instant case, the applicant, the leader and spokesperson of the organisation “Sharia4Belgium”, was convicted of incitement to discrimination, hatred and violence on account of remarks he made in YouTube videos concerning non-Muslim groups and Sharia. Specifically, he called on viewers to overpower and fight non-Muslims. He alleged a violation of Article 10 ECHR. Given the markedly hateful contents of the remarks in question, the Court held that, in accordance with Article 17 ECHR, the applicant could not claim the protection of Article 10 ECHR. It declared the application inadmissible).