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Terrorist Attacks

Terrorist Attacks "I'm Charlie." Demonstration of solidarity with the victims of the Terrorist Attack in the editorial office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, January 2015.

For several years, France has maintained an unfortunate leadership in terms of the number of victims in hate-motivated acts of terrorism.

On May 25th in the business district of La Defense in Paris an Islamist attacked soldier Cedric Cordier and wounded him .

On June 27th in the town of Saint-le-Noble assailants set fire to a car and directed it towards the building that houses the city's only Muslim prayer hall .

On June 20, fire was set to the catholic school of Sainte Marie in Oban. Despite the struggle of the fire fighters, the school lost a few classrooms .< /p>

On July 2, shots were fired at a synagogue in Limay-Brivane .

On July 26, two Molotov Cocktails were thrown in the Jewish Cultural Centre in Toulouse .

On August 29, a conspiracy to blow up a synagogue in Lyon was revealed .

On December 22, a driver tried to hit pedestrians in Nantes, shouting “Allah Akbar”. 11 people were injured as a result .

On December 23, unidentified perpetrators opened fire at David Ben-Yishai synagogue in Paris .

On December 24, a 15kg gas cylinder was found at the gate of a Jewish cemetery in Cagnes-sur-Mer, not far from Nice .

On December 25, shots were fired at a kosher restaurant in Paris .

2015 was the year of the large-scale terrorist attacks committed by radical Islamists. On January 7-9, 2015 in Paris, twelve people were killed in the editorial office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, four more - in the seizure of a kosher store at the Vincennes Gate, also killed Clarissa police officer Jean-Philippe. 11 people were injured.

On June 26, 2015 Yasin Salhi attacked and beheaded his boss in the small village of San Kanten-Fallavier in the region of Isere, and then tried to blow up a liquefied gas factory.

On August 21, 2015, US servicemen on vacation, with the help of a British national neutralized a terrorist with a machine gun in the Thalys international train, but three people were still injured.

On November 13, 2015 terrorists associated with the Islamic State (IS) conducted a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, killing 130 people and injuring over 350 (most in the concert hall of Bataclan).

On July 14, 2016 on the Day of the Bastille - a national holiday in France - a 31-year-old native of Tunisia crashed a 19-ton truck into a crowd of people watching the fireworks on the English embankment. 86 people were killed and 308 were injured. The attacker was shot and killed by the police. Islamic State took responsibility for the attack. Despite these horrible terrorist attacks, French government did not recognize global systemic problems in the national policy of the country (or rather, in its absence), and the civilized world continued to seek answers to the question: "why France again?".

The following terrorist attacks were committed by Islamists in 2020:

  • On January 3, a man stabbed three people in the Paris suburb of Villejuif, killing one person and wounding two others. The attacker was shot and killed by police. The attacker was identified as Nathan S, a follower of Salafism, an extremist sect of Islam.
  • On January 5 in the city of Metz, French police shot and wounded a man who rushed toward a group of police officers with a knife while shouting "Allahu akbar. The suspect was on an official watch list for ties to militant groups.
  • On April 4, 2020, two people were killed and five wounded in the stabbing attack, which the interior minister described as a terrorist incident. Prosecutors said the suspect was a Sudanese refugee of 30 years who lived in Rimans-sur-Isere, the town where the attack took place.
  • On April 27, two police officers were seriously wounded when a driver rammed their vehicle in Colomba, Hauts-de-Seine. The perpetrator was arrested, and a source said the man carried out the attack to "avenge events in Palestine." The assailant reported his allegiance to the Islamic State.
  • On Sept. 25, 2020, two people were stabbed outside the former headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charles Hebdo in Paris.
  • On Oct. 16, a Chechen refugee beheaded Samuel Paty in Conflan Saint-Honorin, northwest of Paris. Paty was a high school teacher who had given a lesson on free speech long before, in which he showed caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
  • On Oct. 29, three people were killed in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Notre Dame de Nice, one of the victims beheaded. The terrorist was a 21-year-old Tunisian national who had illegally entered France via Italy. ISIS videos were found in his cell phone.

These actions should be seen in the broader context of Islamic terrorism in France after the 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the Kosher supermarket and the Bataclan. Since 2015, according to security sources, there have been 20 terrorist attacks in France; another 19 were prepared but failed in execution, and 61 plots have been uncovered. As the incidents above show, the new pattern of Islamist terrorism is that ISIS and al-Qaeda claim only a small number of acts. Most attacks are carried out by lone terrorists who share the jihadists' beliefs but have chosen to act independently, thus following the tactic recommended by both Islamist groups: strike the enemy where they live instead of coming to fight in Iraq/Syria and the Sahel war zones. However, a lone attacker does not mean "lone wolf": in the case of the Nice terrorist, the police heard about six people as possible accomplices . With regard to Islamist radicals, there are two main concerns. The first is that young Muslims who were born or raised in France and are not known to the police become radicals. There are currently 8,000 people under surveillance by the intelligence community because they are close to Islamic terrorism . The second problem is related to illegal immigration, as evidenced by the attack in Nice, when the perpetrator, according to authorities, "came to France to kill.

French Islam is predominantly Sunni. Hate-mongering Islamist radicals are also Sunni, who are close to the jihadist wing of the Salafist movement. The main problem is that the nonJihadist Salafists, who control about 100 mosques and houses of worship, do not have full control over their flock, and people can become radicalized by attending such mosques, where sermons devalue Western lifestyles and values. This is why the government wants to address this problem by targeting "radical Islam" in general and calling it "the enemy" . According to the government, being radical certainly means being Salafist, but it also means being affiliated with mainstream groups representing orthodox Sunni Islam, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, namely the umbrella organization Muslims of France, formerly known as the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF).


One of the hot topics of 2020 is that this offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the Turkish-sponsored Milli Görus, is part of the French Muslim Worship Council (CFCM), which is a state-recognized religious institution. The Government wished to clarify how they saw themselves in relation to the French model of a secular State, and had asked all nine members of the FSMC to ratify the Charter of Republican Values as well as a proposal on how to train imams according to these values, instead of importing imams from the Maghreb and Turkey. The government's goal is undoubtedly to quickly stop issuing residence permits to foreign imams and replace them with others who are native French, know the French language and share (used to) European values, including gender equality and the primacy of civil law over Sharia. As a reminder, French rabbis who are employees of the Consistory, the official body of French orthodox Jewry, must have a degree from the Paris Rabbinical Seminary and another university degree in secular studies and at least the equivalent of a master's degree.

All of the aforementioned groups, as well as the Indian-Pakistani Tablighi Jamaat that emerged in India, radicalize Muslims in the sense that they ask them to strengthen their religious faith and avoid those aspects of Western civilization that run counter to the orthodox interpretation of the Sunna, among other issues concerning gender equality and acceptance of secularism. However, they do not recruit Muslims into ISIS, al-Qaeda, or any other terrorist networks. French security services estimate that 730 adult French citizens were still living in ISIS or al-Qaeda-controlled Syria/Iraq in 2018. Among the French who joined the jihad, some were influenced by the Salafist movement , and the cradle of French-speaking jihad is the Salafist community of Artigat, in southwestern France. Those who went to fight in Syria/Iraq, however, did so mostly on an individual basis, after becoming disillusioned with non-jihadist Salafism. Others left in small groups, mostly all from the same city: according to expert David Thomson, 50 left from Nimes (a city of 150,000 people) and 15 left from Lunel (population 26,000) on the southwest coast of the Mediterranean Sea. There are many reasons for their departure: some formed prayer groups for those who rejected the traditional moderate ideology of the local mosque; the Artigat group revolved around a "guru" of Syrian origin with a Salafist background; others studied Islamic studies at universities in Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Expert Fakhrad Khosrokhavar says that mosques no longer play a significant role in recruitment for jihad, and that those who leave are mostly young Muslims and converts from so-called poor "banlieues" (suburbs of big cities) who were attracted to jihad through the Internet or who became radicalized when they were jailed for petty criminal offenses.

As for terrorist threats from the far-right, the main risks seem to come from small cells of "super-patriots" whose goal is to prevent Islamization and the Great Replacement. Since 2015, three plots to assassinate a political figure, including President Emmanuel Macron, have been uncovered before any harm was done. In June 2017, Logan Alexandre Nisin, 21, was arrested near Marseille for intending to kill then-Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and radical leftist MP Jean-Luc Melenchon. The man, who created a Facebook page in honor of Anders Behring Breivik, created a self-styled "secret army organization" (OAS) whose aim was to force Muslims to re-emigrate to North Africa through intimidation and terror. Nisin is a former supporter of extremist groups such as Jeunesses nationalistes, Action française, and the Mouvele nouvelle aurore (MPNA) of Marseille, whose name imitates the Greek name "Golden Dawn." Nisin was frustrated by the lack of ability or willingness of these movements to move forward to terrorist action and decided to act in his own way, posing as a trend of the so-called "lone wolves" who are not happy with the loud criticism of legal nationalist groups that do not push their fighters into illegal actions.

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