A Bosnian court indicted a Muslim priest on Wednesday for recruiting people to fight for the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, using a new law aimed at stopping people traveling to fight alongside militants in the Middle East.
Husein Bosnic, known as an unofficial leader of the ultra-conservative Salafi movement in Bosnia, was arrested in September along with four other men who were later released but who had their passports confiscated.
The indictment accused Bosnic of urging members of his community to join Islamic State militants, saying he had “publicly encouraged others to join terrorist organizations during 2013 and 2014, consciously and from a position of religious authority.”
It was the first use of a law adopted in April which sets jail terms of up to 10 years for financing terrorist activities and recruiting and fighting abroad.
Bosnic, who is in custody, was not available to comment on the indictment. He has not yet been required to enter a plea.
Police say up to 180 Bosnians, including women and children, have left for Syria over the past three years, of whom more than 50 returned to Bosnia while more than 20 were killed.
Most Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, practice a moderate form of Islam. But some youths, particularly from rural areas, have in recent years adhered to the puritanical Salafi sect.
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