A raft of new anti-terrorism measures are aimed at preventing French citizens or residents from joining jihadist groups abroad, and at slowing the spread of radical Islam at home.
France Declares War on Radical Islam
Soeren Kern | Gatestone Institute | March 25, 2015
The French government has cut the social welfare benefits of nearly 300 jihadists who have left France to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Amid a rapidly expanding jihadist threat, it has also started confiscating passports, imposing travel bans and blocking access to jihadist websites.
The moves are part of a raft of new anti-terrorism measures aimed at preventing French citizens or residents from joining jihadist groups abroad, and at slowing the spread of radical Islam at home. Muslim groups are criticizing the flurry of activity as “Islamophobia.”
On March 17, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve revealed that the government has stopped paying welfare benefits to 290 French jihadists fighting with the Islamic State. He said that the agencies responsible for distributing welfare payments were being notified as soon as it was confirmed that a French citizen had left the country to fight abroad.
At least 1,200 French nationals or residents are believed to have joined the Islamic State, but Cazeneuve did not say whether any of those were receiving benefits. “We should not make a controversy out of this subject or allow people to think that no action has been taken,” he said. “We are taking this seriously and will continue to do so.”