Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Responding to French-born Jihad

"The extent of the phenomenon and its entry in all areas, with the radicalization of young students and young girls in particular, indicates that it could turn into a mass phenomenon."
"It is not a matter simply of preventing the slide of a few marginalized individuals; we have to ask ourselves why a large part of the country's youth is turning away from our social model."
"There is a tap of hatred that produced them. It turns out that the more the investigation progresses, we discover the people acting are French, not Syrian, not Iraqis. Today, in certain areas, forces hostile to our country are thriving. It has been going on for years, and it has to end."
"Our collective responsibility is to protect kids before they become killers." 
"They [religious extremists] are always in front and we are just reacting. If, for the first time, we thought to act first, to counter-attack around cultural values, against their discourse, if we looked after women, liberated them, got rid of their veils, if we granted them equality, then we would be disturbing [the extremists] on their own turf."
Malek Boutih, member of French National Assembly: Generation Radical report

"The desire to hit us is very clearly expressed. And our geographic position, through the easy access into our territory for all jihadists of European origin, whether they're French or not, complicates matters."
Marc Trevidic, French magistrate
REUTERS/Christian Hartmann - RTS7O9O

"Today, it is clear that the engagement of the armed forces in Muslim countries has an effect on people who do not feel European and want to fight European values. [ISIL] gives them that opportunity."
"School cannot do much because the students are not blank pages on which teachers can freely write our principles and values. Students also have an environment they live in."
Malika Sorel-Sutter, former government council on integration member

"[Other attacks] are without a doubt [being prepared]. At any moment, we could suffer an attack. We are at war."
"We know that the battle to confront the ruptures in our society and this rise of radical Islamism to defend our values and secularism, comes through schools and through culture."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls
People run after hearing what is believed to be explosions or gun shots near Place de la Republique square in Paris, on November 13, 2015.  Dominique Faget / AFP / Getty

Many French Muslims seem to agree that "France asked for it ... they shouldn't have gone to bomb Syria". Or Mali, or Iraq, or Afghanistan. And perhaps that's true. France and the coalition led by the United States that has attempted time and again to restore order and peace in the restive, belligerent and religion-led dysfunction of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia appear to have failed in their intent, reaping resentment and blame from the very people who begged to be saved from themselves.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket massacres, Prime Minister Valls tasked Malek Boutih to look into youth radicalization in France, and to produce a report setting out his findings, along with recommendations. That June publishing of the Generation Radical report gave ample warning of a breakdown in French society that risked a rising tsunami of Islamist jihadis preparing themselves to attack their own country, France.

French officials girded themselves. And then they waited. For the next incident that would take them by surprise and create yet another shock wave which leaves the French resolve to carry on and to respond with force. And then? Wait again. France, as a former colonial power, feels an obligation to step in with military force in its former colonies facing existential disruption leading to total breakdown of governments and society. Somehow, official France appears to have overlooked the need to step in to the extreme emergency situation it was itself internally facing.

In the interests of freedom and equality official France appears to feel that immigrants should be left to their own devices, that they will eventually so hugely appreciate the privilege of living in a democratic state guaranteeing the future for all its citizens in equal measure that there would be no need to regulate and legislate and impose conditions with citizenship. Once in France, newcomers become French and the corollary to that is adaptation to French culture and values and law by willing osmosis.

But this never happened, and what Muslims from abroad brought with them was all they would ever need in law, culture and values and they grimly and with hostile intent, shut themselves away from the contaminating effects of French lifestyle and values; degraded and contemptible, an insult to Islamic values. Since the issue is that of distance and hostility no social contract inviting each to meet the other took place and within the banlieues where Muslim life went on, France was absent.

The report cited 30 percent of the new generation of jihadis are not even born Muslim, but rather are converts to Islam in a rebellion against their own society which they feel has little personal value to them. Islam is, after all, a proselytizing religion, and one growing at an amazing rate among the world's population. So, is this religion of peace that its devout followers proclaiming it to be, what attracts converts? Perhaps some, but the younger demographic appear to appreciate the violence of atrocities that Islamic State is so adept at staging and proliferating through the Internet.

Mr. Boutih is right about one thing, that the Friday 13 November multiple deadly attacks in Paris mark a time when committees and studies are no longer sufficient as a response to the growing threat of violent militant Islam. The religion of peace's other facet, that of its fascist ideology, was to be faced and dealt with. And of course it's the right decision, but do they know where to start? Well, President Hollande has started with increased bombing of ISIL, which is fine, but doesn't address France's internal dilemma.

French citizens pose a threat to the rest of the world as well with its 457 citizens currently in Syria and Iraq, 320 on their way and an additional 521 with the intention of leaving Paris to travel to Syria. This is no one's idea of a vacation, other than a vacation from civilization for the greater allure of Medieval carnage waiting to be imposed upon other Muslims and with that experience, to be brought back to Europe in a viral spread of jihad.

France, said Malika Sorel-Sutter, had failed to ensure that immigrants and their offspring would be loyal to the country's values. And the Prime Minister emphasizes the need to strike ISIL head on while acknowledging "There is fertile ground for radical Islamism, this jihadism", while carefully making the obligatory distinction between Islam and 'radical Islamism', which is only Islam recognizing and obeying its original instructions to the faithful.

Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Boutih that as far as hitting the Islamists in their own territory, France already has made wearing the burqa and the niqab unlawful. That subtle message to Islamist misogynists doesn't appear to have dented their self-regard one iota. Outlaw and arrest the imams who are preaching Islamist fascism in France's mosques, and thus interfere in their freedom of speech and assembly? Come now, France; respond!

Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the international friendly soccer match between France and Germany in Saint Denis, outside Paris, on November 13, 2015. Hundreds of people spilled onto the field of the Stade de France stadium after explosions were heard nearby during a friendly match between the French and German national soccer teams. Christophe Ena / AP

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