News / Europe

France Set to Prevent Jihadists Going to Fight or Train Abroad

FILE - A police officer secures the entrance of the Appeals Court of Versailles for the arrival of vehicles transporting Mehdi Nemmouche, the French national suspected of the shooting attack in the Brussels Jewish Museum in May that left four people dead.
FILE - A police officer secures the entrance of the Appeals Court of Versailles for the arrival of vehicles transporting Mehdi Nemmouche, the French national suspected of the shooting attack in the Brussels Jewish Museum in May that left four people dead.
Reuters

France plans to ban individuals linked to radical Islamist groups from leaving the country in a bid to prevent attacks by militants returning from the Middle East, according to a draft bill set to be unveiled on Wednesday.

France has seen a sharp rise this year in citizens going to join Islamic militants in Syria and now Iraq.

"We have a duty to react as almost 800 young people are involved," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told Tuesday's edition of the daily Le Parisien.

Of that figure, some 600 French nationals are either currently in Syria or planning to go there, he said.

French national Mehdi Nemmouche, arrested on charges of shooting dead four people in May at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, is suspected to have spent most of last year in Syria, fighting with Islamist rebels.

Cazeneuve said about 100 people were currently on their way back to France from Syria.

European governments have been tightening anti-terrorism laws over the last 18 months as the Syrian conflict enters its fourth year. In June, nine countries agreed to share more intelligence and take down radical websites to try to stop Europeans going to fight in Syria and bringing militancy home.

France has long been a target for Islamist militants because of its record as a colonial power in North Africa and problems integrating its large Muslim minority.

It has nonetheless had broad success at averting attacks due to its security apparatus and some of Europe's toughest anti-terrorism laws, which include the ability to hold a suspect for up to 96 hours without charge.

However, the ease of communication through social media and the growing turmoil in the Middle East have created new pressures, and the government has been criticized for not stopping French nationals as young as 14 from heading to Syria.

Discourage and prevent

"The objective of this bill is to increase the number of hurdles to discourage those who want to go and to stop them [from] actually going," said an Interior Ministry source.

Cazeneuve, who has already put in place a raft of policies this year to try to prevent young French Muslims from becoming radicalized, will unveil the bill to cabinet on Wednesday.

Primarily, it allows authorities to stop French nationals traveling overseas for an indefinite period if they are suspected of having firm links to a jihadist network.

Investigators will also now be able to hold and question individuals on a low threshold of evidence, under broad "suspicion of conspiring in relation to terrorism" - a measure intended to catch those who only associate loosely with other potential militants.

"Lone wolves are not necessarily as alone as we think," said the source.

The bill would also allow websites that condone terrorism to be blocked without a judge's approval.

The bill has raised civil rights concerns from some NGOs and lawmakers; the article on the internet has been sent to the European Commission to ensure it complies with EU legislation.

"France will not tolerate messages calling for or glorifying jihad to be shown on its soil with impunity," the draft says.

France's Muslim community is the biggest in the European Union, at 5 million. Many are marginalized, living with poor job prospects in grim, violence-ridden suburbs and housing estates.

But until Mohamed Merah, a young al-Qaeda-inspired gunman, killed seven people including three Jewish children in March 2013, France had not suffered a major attack since 1995, when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group bombed a Paris metro station, killing eight people and wounding dozens.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid