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Belgium: Mother of Extremist Killed in Syria Charged with Financing Terrorism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Police in the suburb of Forest near Brussels. Reuters

Brussels- Belgium’s Federal Police have charged a Belgian woman, whose son was killed in Syria, of involvement in financing terrorism and trying to recruit extremists.

The police refused to give further details.

Geraldine Henneghien told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Thursday that she is mulling along with her lawyers how to react.

Henneghien told Belgian media on Wednesday night that when her son Anis was injured in Syria in 2014, a French girl, who claimed to be in contact with him, telephoned her and told her that she was going to Syria to help Anis.

Henneghien claimed that she told the girl not to travel there. But the girl said she was determined to stand by Anis.

Henneghien said she sent her son 1,000 euros after he asked for financial assistance.

“That’s why the prosecution accused me of financing terrorism. But what can I do other than helping my son who is injured in a conflict zone and does not have any money?” she asked.

The French girl returned to Europe when Anis was killed and asked for money from her, claimed the woman.

But the investigative judge asked her not to provide the girl with any such assistance.

Asharq Al-Awsat met Henneghien end of March a few days after the terrorist bombings in Brussels.

The dialogue focused on the activities of the association that she is overseeing. The association includes several mothers of young men and women who have traveled from Belgium to Syria to fight there alongside ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

Véronique Loute, the person in charge of the “Les parents concernés ” that is based in Brussels’ Molenbeek area, spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat in the presence of three women in one of the association’s rooms.

Loute told the newspaper that the association was established in 2013 for the purpose of helping the parents of children who have traveled to Syria to fight there.

“The families gather here and tell us their stories and suffering while searching for their children,” she said.

Sharing their stories help them overcome their grief, she added.

Henneghien, who is a founding member of “Les parents concernés,” said that she thought about creating the association to help young men avoid the fate of her son.

The mothers of the militants who travel to Syria “come here because they know we are not going to prejudge them,” she said.

The association’s plans include meeting with children and educating them that their future lies in Belgium and not in conflict areas.

“We also shed light on the importance of participation (of youths) in building their future,” Henneghien added.