A parliamentary report reveals, France’s attempts to deradicalize jihadis have been a complete failure. Who would have guessed?
The report implies that deradicalization, either in specialized centers or in prisons, does not work because most Islamic radicals do not want to be deradicalized.
Although France is home to an estimated 8,250 hardcore Islamic radicals, only 17 submitted applications and just nine arrived. Not a single resident has completed the full ten-month curriculum.
The original plan was to build 13 deradicalization centers — known as Centers for Prevention, Integration and Citizenship at a cost of €40 million ($42 million).
The government’s first — and, until now, only — deradicalization center, housed in the Château de Pontourny, an isolated 18th-century manor in central France, opened in September 2016…
Although France is home to an estimated 8,250 hardcore Islamic radicals, only 59 people have inquired about going to Pontourny since its opening. Of those, only 17 submitted applications and just nine arrived. Not a single resident has completed the full ten-month curriculum.
One of the residents was a 24-year-old jihadist named Mustafa S., who was arrested during a counter-terrorism operation near Strasbourg on January 20, 2017. Police said he has links to one of the authors of the November 2015 jihadist attack on the Bataclan Theater in Paris. Mustafa S. was arrested while on leave from Pontourny: He was allegedly on his way to join the Islamic State in Syria.
After just five months of operation, Pontourny is now empty, even though it employs 27 people, including five psychologists, a psychiatrist and nine educators, at an annual cost of €2.5 million ($2.6 million).
Another one of the residents of Pontourny was a 24-year-old pregnant woman named Sabrina C., who lived in the facility from September 19 to December 15. She revealed to a local newspaper that she has never been radicalized but took advantage of Pontourny to escape her “family cocoon” and get some “fresh air”:
“At no time did I feel interested in any religion whatsoever. My family is Catholic, non-practicing, we go to church from time to time, but no more. My boyfriend wanted me to wear the headscarf, but I always refused.”
Sabrina’s mother said the deradicalization facility “was an opportunity for our daughter to attend vocational training, to learn cooking, to be near the animals.” Sabrina added that her stay there was a nightmare: “I wept every night, I did not feel in my place. In Pontourny, they treated me like a criminal.” She speculated that the only reason she was allowed into the facility was because the government needed “to make the numbers.” GatestoneInstitute