Islamic radicals recruiting in French jails, suburbs
French Interior Minister warns of Islamic radicals who are using France’s jails and its immigrant-heavy suburbs to hunt for new recruits.11 September 2008
PARIS -- Islamic radicals are using France's jails and its immigrant-heavy suburbs to hunt for new recruits, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie warned in an interview published on Thursday.
"French prisons are a favoured recruitment pool for radical Islamists," Alliot-Marie told Le Figaro.
Alliot-Marie said she had urged her European Union counterparts to draw up a common handbook on Islamism in European jails, to help prison staff "detect and prevent this type of recruitment."
The minister said French would-be Islamist fighters "are travelling today to the Afghan-Pakistani border to receive teaching and training," adding that "certainly more than a dozen" people had made the journey.
"Our services have established this fact and it has been confirmed by several European and extra-European intelligence agencies," she said.
"Some sensitive neighbourhoods in our suburbs also remain choice targets for Salafist activists," who were sending youths for training in hardline madrassas in Yemen, Pakistan or Egypt, she said.
Alliot-Marie also said the Maghreb branch of Al-Qaeda, formerly known as the Algerian Salafist group GSPC, remained a threat to French interests across North Africa.
She said 89 Islamist activists were arrested in France in 2007 and another 55 since the start of this year
[AFP / Expatica]