Sun, 06 Dec 2020

The possible involvement of radical Islamist movements, particularly those active on social networks, in the beheading of a history professor in the Paris region on Friday by an 18-year-old Chechen Russian, is causing concern to the intelligence services and the French government.

The presence of the radical Islamist activist Abdelhakim Sefrioui among the eleven people held in custody as part of the investigation into the assassination of Samuel Paty reinforced these suspicions on Saturday.

These "minority" Islamist movements seek to convince Muslims that France is an Islamophobic country. They seek to instrumentalize them, to create a conglomerate,"

Laurent Nunez, the national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism, told the French news agency AFP. "And at the slightest incident, they start ".

Known to the services, Sefrioui is the founder of the Sheikh Yassin collective (named after the founder of Hamas, killed by the Israeli army in 2004). At the beginning of October, he accompanied the father of one of his students to the school where Mr. Paty was teaching to demand the dismissal of the teacher who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to his students.

A few days ago, presenting himself as a "member of the Council of Imams of France", he also posted a video on YouTube in which he denounced the teacher, calling him a "thug".

He was also the one who, in another video broadcast on the same platform, questioned the daughter of the student's parent and called for mobilization

The national anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard made no connection between this man and the killer in front of the press on Saturday.

'Indirect link'

If there is "not a direct link", Laurent Nunez considers however that there is undoubtedly "an indirect link". "It is clear that a threshold has been crossed," he says, pointing to the "quality of the victim - a teacher - and the barbarity" of his assassination.

A source close to the government emphasizes the role of "hate messages on social networks that young people are soaking up".

A hateful atmosphere on the networks accompanied by a resurgence of radical Islamist movements, according to Laurent Nunez who outlines the context: "The Charlie trial, the republication of the cartoons and the speech of President Macron on a forthcoming law intended to reinforce secularism and to fight against Islamist separatism".

The trial in question is that of the accomplices of those involved in the January 2015 against Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people died, again in retaliation after the publication of these same cartoons.

After the attack with a meat grinder perpetrated at the end of September in front of the former premises of Charlie Hebdo by a young Pakistani, a security source explained to AFP that it was "the republishing of the cartoons rather than the trial that played a role in the aggravation of the threats".

"The will to strike the West is intact" but "between those who have died and those who are incarcerated", the capacity of terrorist groups to act is "very reduced", she added, insisting on the endogenous threat from individuals acting alone.

'Hate of France'

"For a month now, there has been a convergence and mobilization of three currents of Islamists: Muslims led by Marwan Muhammad, former spokesman of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), the CCIF, and Baraka City," a government source explained.

The president of this Muslim charity, Driss Yemmou, was placed under judicial supervision earlier this week before being tried for harassment on social networks against a journalist.

"For the past two weeks penetration rate of the three currents on social networks has been particularly high".

These movements "have today taken the lead in the Islamosphere, with a political, religious, radical, and hateful approach against France," added the same source.

"For them, France is a racist, Islamophobic state, the unholy and absolute miscreant country," she insists, "they want chaos and civil war to develop a new order around the Sharia. They are part of a violent approach".

According to this same source, the recent discourse of Emmanuel Macron on Islamist separatism has accentuated their anger.

Orginally published on RFI

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