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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs