France is planning on opening de-radicalization centers to combat its growing Islamic terrorist threat, and then hoping jihadis volunteer to be “de-radicalized.”
France plans on building 12 of these centers, which can only accommodate up to 25 people at one time. French officials told The Washington Post that the centers were for potential terrorists “looking for way out” and that the government could not order citizens to take part.
The 10 month curriculum at each center will focus on emphasizing French identity and instilling a sense of nationalism among the voluntary attendees. Classes will include courses on French history, religious identities in France, philosophy, leaving ample time for athletics. A French interior ministry official referred to the program as “republican gestation.”
France has 10,000 active suspects on its highest threat-level terror watch list and less than 5,000 federal agents to surveil them, chairman of the French Center for the Analysis of Terrorism told The New York Times in late June, 2016. Worse, French anti-terror agents can only surveil 250 of the 10,000 suspects at any one time. Twenty-four-hour surveillance requires twenty agents per suspect. All 10,000 people on the suspect list are considered radicalized by French security services.
France’s new centers mirror a similar U.S. effort termed “Countering Violent Extremism.” A key part of this effort is “to address the specific societal dynamics and drivers of radicalization to violence and counter the ideology,” the U.S. Department of State notes. Such nebulous endeavors have sparked various dead-end initiatives.
The FBI even launched a program for teens called, “Don’t Be a Puppet: Pull Back the Curtain on Violent Extremism,” which focuses on helping would-be recruits realize when they are being recruited.
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University is highly critical of CVE, saying that the government’s campaign “all but ensures that they have negative impacts, including: stigmatizing Muslims and reinforcing Islamophobic stereotypes, facilitating covert intelligence-gathering, suppressing dissent against government policies, and sowing discord in targeted communities.”
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