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article imageFrance's Interior Minister announces new anti-radicalization laws

By Robert Myles     Jun 27, 2014 in Politics
Marseille - France is likely to introduce new measures to combat religious radicalization, with the emphasis on fighting radicalization via the Internet, French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said Thursday.
Mr. Cazeneuve’s remarks came as he was addressing the annual dinner of the Marseille-Provence section of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France — the Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (CRIF), Thursday.
Condemning those who would attempt to radicalize others, Cazeneuve said, "There are cowards who try to manipulate the weak," as he went on to explain that he would soon be bringing forward the text of new laws aimed at countering religious radicalization over the Internet and in prisons.
Expanding on some of the measures Cazeneuve envisages the new Bill to be brought before the French Parliament would contain, the Minister said there would be provisions preventing minors — those aged under 18 in France — leaving the country. The Bill would also toughen up means of investigating and taking enforcement action against those who glorify religious radicalization over the Internet.
These proposed developments in French law are sure to be watched closely elsewhere. The UK is also considering new laws against religious radicalization, a move that was given impetus following the attempted beheading and murder of serviceman Lee Rigby on a London street in May 2013.
As a direct result of Drummer Lee Rigby’s killing, UK Home Secretary Theresa May set up an Extremism Task Force that formulated a number of proposals designed to confront extremism and radicalization.
France has also seen a number of major incidents involving radicalized extremists. The most serious of these involved 23-year-old Mohammed Merah who, in May 2012, went on the rampage in the southern cities of Montauban and Toulouse.
Before being shot and killed by French police after a 30-hour siege, Merah perpetrated three separate gun attacks targeting French military personnel and Jews. In total he killed seven: three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers. Five others were injured, four seriously.
During the 30-hour stand-off with police before his death, Merah reportedly said he’d instigated the killings to "avenge Palestinian children."
More recently, after three Israeli tourists were killed at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, a French court ordered the extradition to Belgium of Mehdi Nemmouche, a Franco-Algerian suspected of being responsible for the shooting in the Belgian capital.
In his remarks yesterday, Cazeneuve touched on those incidents and denounced what he called a rise of anti-Semitism in France, referring to “cowardly insults, gestures that trivialize."
"Education in all its forms is the only effective remedy," said the Minister. He paid tribute to Latifa Ibn Ziaten at yesterday’s dinner. Latifah's son, 30-year-old Moroccan-born Imad Ibn-Ziaten, was serving as a Master Sergeant in the French military when he became the first victim of the Toulouse killer, Mohamed Merah.
Latifa Ibn Ziaten is now working with the non-profit group Association Imad Ibn Ziaten pour la Jeunesse et la Paix —the Imad Ibn Ziaten Association for Youth and Peace — that she set up after her son’s death. Association Imad’s mission is to educate youth on the dangers of sectarianism and extremism.
Recognising Latifa Ibn Ziaten as an inspirational figure, on May 13, 2014, the American Jewish Committee’s AJC Global Forum awarded Latifa Ibn Ziaten its Moral Courage Award at a ceremony in Washington D.C.
More about religious radicalization, antiterror laws, Antisemitism, Sectarianism, Jihadist
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