Crime & Justice

French gov’t announces action plan against Islamist radicals

Paris, Oct 18 (efe-epa).- The French government in the coming days will prepare an action plan to fight against radical Islamism in the country, sources at Elysee Palace reported after the meeting of the National Defense Council.

The plan was outlined after the urgent session convened by President Emmanuel Macron in response to the beheading last Friday of a high school teacher who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to students during a civil education class on freedom of expression.

Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old secondary school history and geography teacher, was killed by a knife-wielding attacker.

Macron called for authorities “to act very quickly on concrete actions,” a French administration official told reporters after the meeting.

The key element of the plan consists of more closely monitoring individuals and associations who promote radical Islamist points of view, with more decisive actions by French authorities.

For instance, the Interior Ministry is working with a list of associations over which more control is to be exercised and, if the occasion arises, to look for a legal framework whereby they can be dissolved.

In addition, the dissemination of hate messages via the social networks will be monitored and responded to in a more active manner after the father of a student and a known Islamist propagandist posted messages against the murdered teacher and released personal data of his online.

For example, last Friday at least 80 messages approving of the teacher’s gruesome killing were posted and their authors will be investigated by French law enforcement authorities.

In addition, security at educational centers and for teachers will be strengthened when problems linked to radicalism arise.

And security will be increased in certain schools and institutes for when the current autumn vacations end such that the measures will be in place for the return of students to their classrooms on Nov. 2.

Earlier, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that he had instructed local police chiefs to expel 231 foreigners residing illegally in France and who are on file because of their Islamist radicalization. Of those, 180 are currently incarcerated.

The meeting of the National Defense Council lasted about three hours at the Elysee Palace and included – besides Macron – Prime Minister Jean Castex along with six other members of the Cabinet, specifically, the Interior, Justice, Defense, Foreign, Education and Citizenship ministers, as well as the national antiterrorist prosecutor.

Paty was murdered near the College du Bois d’Aulne where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, about 30 kilometers from Paris, shortly before 5 pm on Friday.

The suspected attacker was an 18-year-old refugee born in Moscow of Chechen origin who was not known to the country’s intelligence services.

Police investigating the attack have arrested 11 people, including the suspect’s friends, family and the father of a Muslim student at the school.

The father has been detained along with Islamist propagandist Abdelhakim Sefraoui on suspicion of launching an online campaign against Paty after he showed the satirical cartoons to his students during a class on civil education.

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