After the most recent terrorist attack in France, it’s clear that big and widespread changes need to be made to the laws in that and other European countries in order for those governments to protect their citizens.
The changes that must be made can be broken down into two categories: Changes that directly affect the Muslim population, which are the welfare benefits and immigration policies, and changes that directly affect the rest of the European population, particularly regarding their laws on guns and sentencing guidelines for terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.
The problem with France’s immigration policy and Europe’s as a whole can be summed up by Milton Friedman, who said that open immigration is fine if there’s no welfare state, but with free gov’t benefits, increasing immigration only adds a bigger burden to the already strained system.
Giving Muslim immigrants free stuff is doubly bad. First, it allows them to increase their population in your country without integrating or assimilating, which is what has already happened. It also forces them to stay segregated in their own ghettos/communities since they can’t afford to move to more expensive and integrated areas of the country.
Secondly, it incentivizes them, especially their youth, not to work. This allows them to have a lot of free time, and when you combine that with their cultural confusion, lack of identity, and segregation from the rest of France or any other country, you get disaffected and disgruntled youths who feel alienated from everyone else. That’s just a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, and inevitably a certain percentage of those youths will become radicalized, either on their own via the internet(since there’s plenty of radical islamic sites that will influence them in that way), by listening to a radical imam at a local mosque, or by getting influenced by a friend or group of youths who’ve already become radicalized.
Many of these young Muslim men are looking for an identity, just the way many poor black men in America are, and in both cases they often turn to gangs to give them that sense of family and identity that they previously lacked. The radical terrorist groups are the Muslim version of gangs.
These young men don’t have strong families, many being from the poorest and most war-torn areas of Africa, or parts of the middle east, and without any positive role models or influences in their lives, they really don’t have anywhere to turn for the most part. For all these reasons, it’s a perfect environment and location for radical Islamic groups to recruit to add fighters and suicide bombers to their ranks.
It’s a breeding ground for extremists, and to make matters worse, the French gov’t has completely ignored these ghettos out of fear of upsetting the Muslims there and the extremists who recruit them, which is like leaving some food out and not putting it back in the fridge even though there are already flies around it. If you let it sit out long enough the flies will reproduce, and by the time you come back you’ll have a massive infestation of maggots and flies swarming around the food. In this case the food is the welfare benefits, and the flies are the radical Muslims. To be clear, I’m not saying all Muslims are like flies or maggots, just the radical ones who kill innocent civilians.
So the French gov’t enables Muslims in these ghettos to live off of the taxes from the rest of the country who do work, and then they keep them segregated, with their own laws and customs, so that they know nothing about French laws, values, or traditions. They thought this strategy would appease them by keeping them satisfied and maybe preventing them from rioting, but in reality it did just the opposite. It created the perfect environment for them to become radicalized.
They thought if they just left the hornet’s nest alone and didn’t poke it, the hornets would stay in the nest and leave the rest of the country alone. What they didn’t realize was that a group of hornets can’t stay in isolation forever, eventually they have to branch out, and these particular hornets have a support network with hornets from other countries in the Middle East and terrorist groups in the region. So it was impossible for them to stay isolated and peaceful in the ghettos.
Now I’m not saying Islam itself isn’t at fault here, cause it clearly is, and I’ve written about how it needs to undergo its own reformation, here and here. I’m simply saying this is the fertile soil that exists for the seed of radical Islam to be planted in the minds of these Muslim youths. It’s like these conditions and the factors I just described are the gun, and the ideology and ideas of radical Islam are the bullets, with the trigger being pulled by the radical imams and terrorist groups who influence and brainwash these youths at an early age.
It’s actually very similar to the situation we have here in America with our black population. In many big cities there now exist ghettos that are almost exclusively black, and have many young black males who were born out of wedlock by poor black women. They don’t have any role models or positive influences for the most part, so they turn to gangs and crime, the most obvious example of this being Chicago.
Just like with the French Muslims, our gov’t provides poor black people and in fact all poor people in the US, with a range of gov’t benefits that keep them dependent on the gov’t and take away any incentive they might’ve had to stay in school, find a decent job, or get involved in their community and make something of themselves. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans have dared to go into these communities and actually talk to the people there or try to help them in any way for the most part. So they feel like the “system” and the gov’t are against them.
They feel isolated, and they are. This leads them to develop and “us vs them” mentality, which explains why there’s such a big gulf between them and the cops, which in many places, are predominantly white. It explains the animosity and tensions between the black community and the police, but also between them and american society at large.
So what are the ideas and policies that can be put in place to change this dynamic and begin to break through the ice of segregation and alienation?
The solution, I believe, is the same in both cases. Both in France and here in America, if we set up some kind of job training program within these communities along with an outreach program for the youths that would involve volunteers who could act as mentors for them, we could begin to change the attitudes and behaviors of the disaffected people within these communities. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be a program from the federal gov’t, it could be done by non-profit groups working with local governments and community leaders.
This would have to be coupled with a reduction in benefits to the people within these communities. I’m not suggesting we completely cut them off from all benefits, but rather, we ease the able-bodied people off the benefits slowly, with gradual reductions in the benefits they’re eligible for over a period of several years. This way they wouldn’t be as likely to protest or think the gov’t is out to get them, and it would give them some time to adapt and adjust to the fact that they have to make it on their own, they can’t be dependent on the gov’t anymore if they wanna be a part of this country.
We need a new group of local leaders, both in gov’t and in the private sector, who have the moral foundation, courage, and passion to actually go into these communities and try to help the people there, no matter what the risk is to them personally.
Moderate Muslims must work to change their own communities
That’s where the analogy ends though, because with the black community in this country, they aren’t being recruited and brainwashed by outside groups or a radical and violent worldwide ideology that calls them to fight against the rest of their country.
That’s why I believe the Muslims in these ghettos in France and elsewhere around Europe can’t really be reached by white Europeans. The policy changes I’ve described will be a bandaid that will help stop the bleeding in terms of creating more radicalized Muslims, but I believe only other moderate and freedom-loving Muslims (I know, it sounds contradictory) can change the hearts and minds of the down and out Muslims in these ghettos.
I think the president of France and other leaders in Europe need to create a program that works with all the scholars, imams, and other influential but moderate and educated Muslims and urges them to go into these communities and start fighting in the war of ideas against the radical teachings being taught in mosques and other places throughout France and Europe.
The following are some practical ideas the French gov’t could implement to combat this problem:
1). They could create two websites that would act as resources- one for parents to help them teach their children a better interpretation of Islam that pushes back against the radical ideology their kids will see on jihadist sites, and one for the Muslim youth to learn about a more peaceful version of Islam, the kind the truly moderate Muslims around the world already practice and the kind president al-Sisi of Egypt described in his recent speech.
2). They could also create or at least help fund a tv channel specifically for Muslims who want to learn about a moderate and peaceful version of Islam. They could have debates and discussion on some shows and educational programming on others to describe why the interpretation of Islam promoted by the terrorist groups in this region is wrong and will never succeed.
3) They could take all that taxpayer money the French gov’t was using to give out as benefits to immigrants and use it to open schools in the poorest and most segregated areas around France for the Muslim kids in those areas. The teachers would be scrupulously vetted imams and other Muslims who have already demonstrated by their works and actions they’re committed to increasing peace, tolerance, and respect for all groups within French society.
How the French can stop the spread of radical Islam and protect its citizens
What I wrote about above were just some ideas and potential solutions for the problems France faces with the Muslim youth population who are outside of prison. But what about the ones who already have committed crimes and are currently in prison? How can the French gov’t go about protecting its citizens both from potential terrorists in the future, and radical Muslims who are already on their watch lists?
Obviously the approach the French gov’t has taken for the past decade has been a total failure, with there being many examples of Muslims from French prisons becoming radicalized in those prisons and then joining terrorist groups and being involved in terrorism once they get out. So an entirely new set of policies and laws must be implemented to correct this problem and protect the rest of the country from these violent radical Muslims.
Muslims make up 10% of France’s population but make up anywhere from 50-70 % of their prisoners, according to most estimates. There are many reasons behind this, and I described what I believe are at least some of the root causes behind those statistics above. So the question France and other European nations must now answer is, what must be done to prevent the radicalization of that 50-70% of Muslims in their prisons, and how can they protect their citizens from them once they get out of prison?
I believe one answer involves the French gov’t and intelligence agencies keeping track of Muslim men after they leave prison, since it’s an incubator for radicalization, and it’s also where radical Muslims meet and form alliances and networks. There are plenty of examples of terrorists who came out of either French prisons or Gitmo, the Paris terrorists just being the latest example. I know liberals will accuse me of racism or “violating civil liberties” for making this point, but the truth is, if you’re a Muslim in France and you’ve committed a crime and end up in jail, there’s a very good chance you’ll join or at least aid a radical group or individual at some point.
Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables from 2005 cite a warning by French officials that the prisons and poor suburban neighborhoods were top recruitment areas for radical Islamists, and refer to a report by French intelligence services describing radicalized prisoners as “time bombs”.
This problem must be dealt with on three fronts:
1)How to keep them in prison as long as possible-
France absolutely has to change its sentencing laws on terrorists and potential terrorists. As I referenced previously, these weak laws were partially responsible for allowing the terrorists behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks to be free to do what they did.
2)What to do about the radicalization of Muslims while they’re in prison-
The gov’t could have a vetting process for the prison chaplains and make sure that imams are hired who have moderate beliefs and teach a peaceful version of Islam to the prisoners. This could prevent some of them from becoming radicalized. Apparently the French gov’t has been keeping Muslim men in jail for extended periods of time for petty crimes, and then not paying attention to them after they’re released.
France’s prison population has grown by a third in the past decade, partly due to policies under conservative governments of handing down heavy sentences on repeat petty offenders. I suggest they do the opposite. If they catch these Muslim youths committing crimes, which are often just robberies and other small crimes, they should give them short prison sentences but then track them after they get out, thus preventing them from getting involved in terrorism at some point in the future by meeting and getting to know older and more radical Muslims in prison.
If the crime is serious or involves terrorism in any way, then the sentence should be much longer, even for life in some cases, in order to prevent the very situation that developed with the brothers in Paris. One of them was let out of prison after 18 months for aiding a terrorism group. If he was kept in prison much longer and then tracked he wouldn’t have been able to do what he did last week.
This isn’t just a problem in France, it’s a problem in Italy too, among other countries. It’s not just that average young Muslim men are being radicalized, it’s that the French gov’t hasn’t been doing anything about the radical lay men and imams who are proselytizing them, until recently:
. . . . “About 150 inmates have been charged or convicted on terror charges, and fewer than half of them are engaged in proselytizing, according to the Justice Ministry. To tackle the problem, the prison administration has for years been asking staff to identify those deemed “potentially dangerous.” Chaplains are also expected to alert the authorities about suspicious cases.”
Apparently they’re building a separate prison for these proselytizers, which I believe is a good idea, so they’ve finally done something right in that regard.
“In recent years, the prison administration has sent some of those identified as promoting radical ideas to solitary confinement or transferred them to other institutions, dispersing them throughout the jail system. The new approach is to group them at Fresnes prison, the second largest in France, south of Paris, under a scheme launched only last November. Twenty-two “preachers” are now in Fresnes, according to Pierre Rancé, Justice Ministry spokesman.”
France needs to build on this approach, and by doing so they can start to weed out the radical Muslims both inside and outside of their prisons, and prevent the creep of radicalization from spreading to the wider culture.
3)How to prevent them from getting involved in terrorism once they get out, if they ever do-
One idea I have for this particular problem would be to develop a tracking system that reports every activity of the Muslim men who are released from prisons in France. It would track their cell phones, credit cards, and drivers’ licenses, and passports. Furthermore, they wouldn’t be allowed to leave the country for a certain number of years, in order to reduce the risk of them joining a terrorist group in another country and receiving training, as the brothers involved in the Paris attack did.
Another reason I believe these men need to be tracked once they’re out is because the usual profiling gov’ts have done in the past to identify extremists isn’t gonna work anymore. The radical Muslims of today are smarter and have adapted to this by hiding their radicalized nature, for example, by not growing beards, in order to not attract attention to themselves. This way they can get out of prison and stay off the radar of authorities, in the meantime they can be planning terrorism attacks and other activities, and by the time they’re discovered it’s too late. I urge anyone reading this diary to read this report on the subject. It explains this phenomenon in much better detail than I can and studies some of the root causes of the radicalization process in French prisons.
The immigration policy in France and elsewhere must change too. They must drastically reduce the number of immigrants they accept from other countries, but especially from countries that are likely to contain Muslims who are already radicalized or have the potential to be, such as Somalia, Syria, and Iraq. This won’t do anything to stop the Muslims already in the country from becoming radicalized, but it can stop more from coming in and adding to the problem.
Finally, France’s highly restrictive gun laws do nothing to protect their citizens from radical Islamic terrorism. In every attack, we see the terrorists have guns, and even if they didn’t, they would have bombs, so the gun laws wouldn’t stop them either way. These laws need to be changed. They should allow French citizens to have concealed weapons, and make it much easier to obtain and possess firearms. They would obviously need to screen for radical Muslims in this process, but that can be done, just like it’s done at airports.
To understand why these changes are needed, all we have to do is look at what happened in the Paris Bataclan attack. The people there were all unarmed and helpless, and thus were sitting ducks:
“Julien Pearce, a French radio reporter, was inside the Bataclan concert hall Friday and watched, horrified, as the attack commenced and the bodies piled up:
I [saw] two terrorists … with AK-47s entering the concert hall and [start] firing randomly into the crowd. It lasted for 10 minutes. 10 minutes. 10 horrific minutes where everyone was on the floor covering their heads. [I] heard so many gunshots. The terrorists were very calm … they reloaded their weapons three or four times. They didn’t shout anything. They didn’t say anything…
They began shooting people [who were] on the floor … I [saw] 20 to 25 bodies lying on the flooring … [some] people were very badly injured with gunshot wounds …
It was a bloodbath.”
I’m not saying allowing the people of France to be armed would stop every future terrorist attack, but I am saying it would certainly increase the likelihood of saving many lives and potentially thwarting future attacks.
France and other European countries have nobody to blame but themselves for the position they currently find themselves in, as I’ve written about previously. They’ve essentially committed cultural suicide due to the death of Christianity, their unwillingness to have children, and their acquiescence to multiculturalism, political correctness, and especially the Muslim faith.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t begin to undo the damage they’ve done to themselves, and put in place common sense policies that allow people of all faiths and cultures to live in peaceful co-existence, while protecting all European citizens from the evil and destruction of radical Islam and all those who promote and appease it.