News / Europe

    French Imams, Chaplains Seek Ways to Combat Islamist Radicalization

    A passer-by places flowers at the entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2014.
    A passer-by places flowers at the entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2014.
    Reuters
    Islamic prayer leaders and prison chaplains in France, jolted by a French Islamist's killing spree at the Brussels Jewish Museum, have begun discussing ways to better fight the radicalization of young Muslims.
     
    About 30 imams from southeastern France, meeting in Avignon on Wednesday, said action was urgently needed because about 300 young French Muslims are reported to have left their region to fight alongside jihadist forces in Syria.
     
    Their meeting, which debated practical options such as surveillance cameras in mosques to spot jihadi recruiters and centrally written sermons for Friday prayers, will be followed by further sessions in other regions in the coming months.
     
    Muslim chaplains in prisons, a fertile ground for recruiting young men to Islamist radicalism, met in Paris last weekend to urge the state to expand their ranks by helping train them and then paying them basic salaries for working with prisoners.
     
    “There are young men in my neighborhood leaving for Syria. We need a joint effort to fight against that,” Farid Darrouf, an imam from Montpellier, told French radio in Avignon.
     
    “We've had 300 people leave for Syria from PACA,” said Carpentras imam Khalid Belkhadir, referring to the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region in southeastern France. “That really set the alarm bells ringing for us.”
     
    The flow of European Muslim radicals to Syria and the May 24 killing of four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum, presumably by a 29-year-old French Muslim who did five stints in French jails before fighting in Syria, has alarmed European officials.
     
    British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere both warned this week against the danger presented by European jihadists who return home from fighting in Syria.
     
    France's five million Muslims, the largest Islamic minority in Europe, are overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens opposed to radicalism. But their community is divided and nationwide  initiatives like the imams' meetings are rare.
     
    Joint Plan of Action
     
    “Muslims must act to stop this disfiguration of the image of Islam and Muslims,” said Mohammed Moussaoui, former head of France's national Muslim council and leader of the French Mosques Union group, which sponsored the Avignon meeting.
     
    Noting that more than a million French Muslims attended Friday prayers, he suggested more vigorous preaching against  radicalism.

    “On certain issues, why not have just one joint sermon, so the message comes across loud and clear?” he asked.
     
    Moussaoui's group, part of the large network of Moroccan-backed mosques in France, plans five more meetings of imams in other regions to work out a plan of action in the autumn.
     
    Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said last week that prison police had identified 90 inmates as potential radical Islamists among thousands of Muslims behind bars in France.
     
    The 169 Islamic prison chaplains complain they cannot keep up with demand from Muslim prisoners, who often make up half or more of all inmates, while there are many more Catholic and Protestant chaplains for far fewer Christians seeking guidance.
     
    They also say churches supplement the meager sums their clerics earn from the prisons, while Muslims have no such institutions to help them and cannot live on the low pay.
     
    Lacking trained chaplains to discuss their religious questions, some young Muslim inmates are easy prey for recruiters preaching radical politics with their Islam.
     
    “Our presence in prisons is useful,” they said in a statement after their weekend meeting. “It's time that our conditions of work are guaranteed ... [with] no differences between the chaplaincies.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: exdemocrat
    June 19, 2014 9:41 PM
    if they want to go and fight along side of jihadists,by all means,let them...and do NOT let them back in

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora