Gilles Kepel’s highly anticipated English edition of his sensational French bestseller reveals the truth about a virulent new wave of jihadism that has Europe as its main target. Its aim is to divide European societies from within by instilling fear, provoking backlash, and achieving the ISIS dream of separating Europe’s growing Muslim minority community from the rest of its citizens.
Here are excerpts from ‘Terror in France:The Rise of Jihad in the West’ by Gilles Kepel:
“In January 2005, the Syrian-Spaniard Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, alias
Abu Musab al-Suri, published online The Global Islamic Resistance Call
(Da’wat al-muqawamah al-islamiyyah al-’alamiyyah).
This 1,600-page manifesto conceived terrorism in Europe as the main vector
of the battle against the West and identified the “poorly integrated” younger
generation of Muslims as its preferred instrument.
This text breaks with al-Qaeda’s previous strategy,
in which the leaders assigned agents from the Middle East to carry out
attacks on the United States; instead, it gives priority to offensives in
European countries, with the intention of fomenting civil wars in order
to make them implode.
These ideas slowly matured as young jihadis left Europe to be trained
on battlefields in Iraq and then Afghanistan, producing the milieu from
which Mohamed Merah emerged. Conversely, the political integration
of young French people from Muslim immigrant families was demonstrated
by their willingness to vote and run for office in March 2012,
at the very time when Merah committed the massacres in Montauban
and Toulouse in the name of jihad—and as an enemy of society.
It is this political integration, the key to building a pluralist French
society based upon shared values, that is deeply threatened by the
emergence of jihadism at its very heart.
2005, THE PIVOTAL YEAR
The terrible riots that shook France in autumn 2005 and that forced
the government to proclaim a state of emergency—the first since the
end of the Algerian War and to be seconded as of the January 2015
jihadi attacks (still implemented until the summer of 2017)—took
place in the context of deep national and international upheavals.
These riots occurred at a watershed moment when a new generation
of young Muslims burst onto the scene, seizing control of the streets
for three weeks in the areas where they resided. During the following
decade, this irruption would take the form of both participation in
elections and the assertion of Islamic identity. Many banlieues voters
would register to elect thousands of officials in municipal, general, and
regional councils. In the 2012 parliamentary elections, some 400 candidates
out of 6,000 would be descendants of postcolonial immigrants;
they were seeking, for the first time in history, to embody national
sovereignty. Half a dozen of them would be elected members of Parliament,
while the same number would become senators.
The riots were a rite of passage corresponding to the transition to
a new age of French Islam, in which a generation born and brought up
on French territory came to the foreground and shook up the Islamic
institutions that had been controlled by earlier generations whose
members had migrated to France from the southern or eastern Mediterranean
shores and West Africa. This phenomenon occurred at the
very time when the international radical Islamic movement began its
own mutation. Whereas al-Qaeda had had a pyramidal structure with
Osama bin Laden at the top and the United States as a target, as was
shown on 9/11, the new approach was structured on a bottom-up,
network-based model. It took Europe as its primary target and sought
to recruit its “soldiers”among young Muslim Europeans.”
(The book is available at https://www.amazon.in/Terror-France-Princeton-Studies-Politics/dp/0691174849)