The Presidential Daily Brief

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  1. Jejoen Bontinck, believed to be involved in sending young fighters to Syria, arrives to attend the third day of the trial around Sharia4Belgium with 46 accused suspected of being members of a radical group, at Anwerp criminal court, on October 8, 2014.

    How Belgian Became Jihadi Poster Child

    At 14, he imitated the King of Pop for a reality TV contest and praised the American Dream. By 18, Jejoen Bontinck was fulfilling a different aspiration: waging jihad in Syria, along with 4,000 of his fellow Europeans. He was raised Catholic, converted for a Muslim girlfriend and then joined Sharia4Belgium, which recruited anti-Assad fighters, many of whom joined ISIS. After returning from Syria, Bontinck became a star witness in a terrorism trial, and European authorities will be parsing his testimony for years to come, trying to prevent their youth from becoming radicalized.

     

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