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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.