News

    France Cracks Down on Radical Islam, Arresting 19

    Policemen (GIPN) take part in a search in Coueron, western France as part of dawn raids in several French cities, March 30, 2012.
    Policemen (GIPN) take part in a search in Coueron, western France as part of dawn raids in several French cities, March 30, 2012.
    Lisa Bryant

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy says more suspected Muslim extremists will be rounded up, following a series of arrests Friday in operations around the country. The arrests are part of a larger crackdown against radical Islam following a string of killings by an al-Qaida-inspired gunman.

    Interviewed on France's Europe 1 radio Friday, President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed police commandos had staged a series of early morning raids around the country, rounding up 19 suspected Muslim radicals.

    Mr. Sarkozy said police had seized a number of weapons, notably Kalashnikov rifles. He said more operations will continue and some people will be expelled from the country.

    Mr. Sarkozy's interior minister, Claude Gueant, provided more details, saying those arrested embraced an extremely violent, jihadist and combat ideology.

    Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Muslim associations, Gueant says the government and the Muslim groups are united in fighting against radical Islam. He says the laws of the French Republic must protect Islam, which is the faith of about 5 million people living in the country.

    Gueant says those arrested include the head of a banned Muslim group called Forsane Alizza, or "Knights of Pride." The group is known for having called for a boycott of McDonald's in the French city of Limoges, on grounds of serving Israel.

    In a radio interview, French journalist Mohammed Sifaoui, who has penetrated the group, describes Forsane Alizza as an activist organization that has harassed a number of secular personalities in France. He says they could just be considered bearded people trying to disrupt things - but he says this also fits the background of terrorist groups.

    The arrests are part of a larger crackdown against radical Islam following a string of killings this month by Islamist Mohammed Merah.

    Separately, the government has banned six Islamic preachers from entering the country to participate in a Muslim conference in Paris next week. It said some had called for hate and violence and risked upsetting public order. Those barred include prominent Egyptian preacher Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi.

    Merah was buried Thursday in Toulouse a week after he died in a firefight with French police following a shooting spree in which he shot dead seven people, including two Muslims and four Jews. Just what kind of terrorist ties he has remains unclear, but his older brother, Abdelkader, has been charged with complicity in the attacks.

    The Toulouse killings have shaken the nation. Muslim and Jewish leaders organized a joint march to commemorate the victims last Sunday.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Gab to Cha Cha Cohen, what is your solution?
    April 02, 2012 5:25 AM
    Why do always try to deflect from the actual problem at hand? What is your need to protect this Islamic ideology? Political Islam does not support any of your liberal causes, they do not support you as a woman, and there is certainly no loved lost for your Jewish heritage. Maybe you can be more specific about your solution to the problem of radical Islam.

    by: Battal Gazi
    April 01, 2012 2:36 AM
    Danny Breeze's comment is full of provocation. Everybody commenting here must pay attention about religion and show respect to each other..To blame the Islam because of the killings will just be helpfull to grow anger.

    by: Cha Cha Cohen
    March 31, 2012 11:43 AM
    Extermination and expurgation do not protect nation. Look immigrant like Sarkozy(Hungarian father & Greek jewish mother) saving France (!) from disaster and his Italian wife making France
    famous & well known in the world!

    by: Danny Breeze
    March 31, 2012 11:22 AM
    Please Arrest Mohammad he is the conspirator! If you support Mohammad's life and writings then you become radical too! Islam needs changed and Mohammad needs the position of lost prophet gone wrong.

    by: Bhalchandra
    March 30, 2012 5:18 PM
    France's Sarkozy is doing the right thing in protecting France from the Islamic extremist mindless violence.
    Many other countries like U.K., Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, India will do well to follow France's example.

    by: truth
    March 30, 2012 4:22 PM
    Islam is a cult created by a psychopath. It cannot be reformed. It must be eradicated. Islam must be eradicated not because the Quran says Earth is flat or the shooting stars are missiles that Allah fires at the Jinns who climb the heaven to eavesdrop on the conversation of the exalted assembly. These stupid tales could even amuse us. Islam must go because it teaches hate, it orders killing of non-Muslims, it denigrates women and it violates the human rights.

    by: Anti-extremist
    March 30, 2012 4:57 AM
    >Merah's father has announced plans to file a lawsuit against French police.
    Like father, like son.

    by: Sadiq
    March 30, 2012 4:30 AM
    They should be hunted like wild dogs for spilling innocent blood in the name of a sick religion.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora