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FRANCE’S SIMMERING INTIFADA


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frances-simmering-intifadaAmerican Spectator:

When gendarmes arrested seven Muslim militants in Strasbourg in a pre-dawn sweep last May, it was the first major move in the government’s stepped-up attempt to stem the flow of French jihadists to Syria to join al Qaeda’s fight against Bashar al-Assad. Not that France has any interest in propping up his regime, au contraire. Rather, French authorities have reason to fear that when they return battle-hardened from Syria, as the seven had, they will put their guerrilla training to deadly use in the restive Arab barrios of Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, and other major cities.

 

France’s new campaign to rein in its home-grown jihadists is prompted by alarming statistics from domestic intel: Whereas in January some 250 French nationals were known to be fighting in Syria, that figure had doubled by April. Hundreds more, recruited directly in France’s Muslim communities or incited by jihadist websites, are either en route to there or have returned. Thirty-odd are known to have died in the fighting. “Now there are not only more of them,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said recently, “but they are younger, including boys and girls as young as fifteen.”

 

 

In any case, it seems the problem will only worsen. France is home to the largest Islamic population in Europe. The number of Muslims from North and West Africa and the Middle East is estimated at five million—no official figures exist, it being head-in-the-sand policy to forbid collection of statistics based on race or religion. Crammed into bleak, crime- and drug-ridden suburban public housing tower blocks, the banlieues, their numbers are increasing so fast around Paris that they will soon outnumber the two million inhabitants of the city center.Scissors-32x32.png


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