France ponders liability to terror

France ponders liability to terror

Unfortunately, France appears to be increasingly fearful. Source: Wikimedia

The murder of an 85-year-old priest in Normandy and the daily Islamist threats and taunting suggest that Islamic State terrorists has kept its pledge to make France a priority target.

Isis spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani in 2014 called on Muslims to “kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French”.

“Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car,” the Islamist diplomat added.

France’s is proving vulnerable to Islamist attacks for several reasons. France has the largest Islamic minority in Europe, at almost one in 10 of the population. The social gaps between some Muslim communities and the rest of the nation appears to be wider in France than elsewhere in Europe, reinforced by an active far right.

A foundation is being created to finance French mosques to prevent the funding from radical overseas benefactors, the nation’s Muslim council announced. Anouar Kbibech, the head of CFCM, said the foundation could be used to fund the construction and management of mosques, paid for by taxes from the halal food trade.

France prohibits the use of state funds for religious buildings but Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he wanted to stop foreign mosque financing.

Kbibech said: “Almost all Muslims of France are attached to a serene, open, tolerant Islam and they are fully respecting the values and laws of the republic.” Twenty Muslim establishments have been shut down this year because of suspected extremist links. “There’s no room in France for those who call for and stir up hatred in prayer rooms or mosques, and do not respect the principles of the republic,” Kbibech added.

Patrick Calvar, the head of France’s internal intelligence service, told a parliamentary inquiry, in remarks leaked to the French press, that there was a danger of vigilantes retaliated after a terror attack or something similar to the sexual New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne.

He said there could be “punitive expeditions in the suburbs”, resulting in further radicalisation. “Where is the spark going to come from that will light the powder, transforming France into an uncontrollable country where groups take up arms and hand out their own justice?” Calvar allegedly told MPs. “Nothing is excluded in a country which is already as eruptive as France today.”

More French citizens have travelled to Syria to fight for Isis than from any other EU member and Schengen’s open borders allow fighters and arms to move relatively freely. Its security agencies also appear overwhelmed by the threat and are struggling to coordinate.

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