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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Islamism a growing influence, affecting children

By: V4 Agency

There appears to be almost no place in the country where Islamism is not present on a daily basis. Several teachers and students have been placed under police protection, and one imam only dares to enter his mosque in a stab-resistant vest, accompanied by bodyguards.

France continues to face a growing Islamist threat and the situation, even five months after the gruesome murder of history teacher Samuel Paty, shows no signs of improvement. To the contrary. Currently, around forty people in France are forced to live their daily lives under reinforced police protection, after receiving death threats for their views on Islam. There are journalists, teachers, students, and even imams among them.

The case of Mila, a sixteen-year-old teenage girl who received a slew of insults and death threats for criticising Islam and the Quran on the internet, has enjoyed widespread coverage both in the French and the international media. Mila has not been to school for a long time as authorities were unable to vouch for her personal safety, and she continues to live her life under constant police protection. A Salafist man registered in the so-called S File (meaning he poses a heightened national security risk to France), told BFM televison that Mila would no longer be alive if she had not been placed under protection.

The man said that he personally condemns terrorism, adding however, that Mila would be dead by now, had she been left unprotected. Because of her critical remarks regarding the prophet and Islam, she would have been killed much sooner than Samuel Paty, the history professor decapitated last October, he said, pointing out that there will always be someone angry or unwilling to accept things that Mila or professor Samuel Paty have said.

Samuel Paty’s tragedy also highlights the alarming tendency France is witnessing: the fact that a growing number of minors are drawn under the influence of Islam.

The prosecutor’s office launched an investigation against a 15-year-old student in Toul, north-east of France, for spreading videos that show decapitations on Snapchat. The student’s classmates informed the school management about his activity and the principal reported it to the police, according to L’Est Républicain, a French regional newspaper. The teenage boy was taken into custody and charged with promoting footage containing violence with an intent. Earlier, the teenager was expelled from two schools, but he was not on the radar of authorities, the prosecutor said.

Islamist influence affecting minors has become a growing concern in France. Samuel Paty’s cruel execution was also prompted by a 13-year-old schoolgirl who felt insulted, so she complained about her teacher at home. Her father then launched a hate campaign against Mr Paty on social media.

The threat is present in all tiers of society, neatly illustrated by the example of Didier Lemaire, a philosophy teacher in the heavily Islamised town of Trappes. Mr Lemaire also received a series of threats, forcing him to request police escort to get to work. He later abandoned his profession to protect himself and his family.

The case when two teachers at the Grenoble Sciences Po Political Institute were accused of Islamophobia has also triggered a general outcry. They also received many threats, as a result of which they were placed under police protection. After the incident, Minister of Higher Education Frederique Vidal defended the teachers and condemned the insults directed at them.

The threats, however, are not only targeting teachers. A recent BFMTV report has revealed that the imam of Drancy, a town in Seine-Saint-Denis département, is one of the most threatened people in France. 48-year-old Hassen Chalghoumi says he lives under constant threat, and never spends more than three nights at the same place to make it harder to track him. As he is unwilling to give up his faith, he continues to preach in his mosque, albeit in a stab-proof vest against possible attacks.

Mr Chalghoumi avoids visiting the mosque each day, because a predictable daily routine is easier to track, but if he does, he is accompanied by a bodyguard to protect him against a possible knife attack or other types of assaults.

BFMTV has published another shocking video, showing how children are being taught and indoctrinated with the tenets of Islam from a very early age. Fewzi Benhabib, a resident of Seine-Saint-Denis for 25 years and an advisor to the commission called Secularism Observatory, is concerned that he will soon be faced with the same exact system he fled from years ago. He thinks “there is an ongoing project in Saint-Denis, and it’s designed to impose the standards of political Islamism on the city.”

In order to prove his point, Mr Benhabib, a man of Algerian descent, accomnapied BFMTV’s reporter to the windows of a toy store selling “toys used in the Islamist indoctrination process,” including children’s editions of the Quran and dolls dressed in veils. A few streets away a bookstore sells books on Islam, with many of the authors – including Ibn Taymiyyah – promoting jihadist Salafism. Evidently, people in France have free access to books that openly promote and encourage Islamism, with some even serving as manuals for radicalisation.

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