France’s Manuel Valls and the Two-Fold Islamic Threat
In his first interviews with an American publication since the Charlie Hebdo massacres in Paris in January, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tells the WSJ’s Sohrab Ahmari that the Islamist threat is twofold: There is the “outside enemy,” like the Islamic State and al Qaeda, and there is the “internal enemy,” the jihadist network that has spread across Europe.
In a move to counter these threats, France is developing its first comprehensive legal framework for intelligence by increasing funding and staffing and allowing agencies to have broader authority in identifying and monitoring terror suspects online. To further strengthen France’s counterterror capabilities, about 10,000 security personnel have been assigned to potential terrorist targets, such as synagogues, Jewish schools and mosques. Prisoned jihadists are being isolated to prevent them from radicalizing other inmates, and France is pushing the European Parliament for approval of a passenger-name record system similar to the one used in the U.S.
Mr. Valls warns, however, that these steps are not enough, especially if leaders fail to question the root cause of the jihadist terrorist activities. What needs to be addressed is, where does Islam stand in European society and why, for example, would a 20-year-old take up arms against his own society? How does Islam prove that it can live in harmony with core values, with the equality of women, and the separation of church and state?
As the WSJ points out, Mr. Valls is keenly aware of the French malaise, particularly in the banlieues on the outskirts of major cities, which has led to an alarming rise of a new type of anti-Semitism—in its “thuggish street manifestation.” But Mr. Valls is quick to point out, there also has been a rise in anti-Semitism among the French elites in the political and media class.
Mr. Valls also emphasizes personal responsibility—a departure from traditional socialism. “We have unemployment benefits that somehow sponsor unemployment,” he says. What Mr. Valls would like to see sponsored is “going back to work.”
Read more here from the WSJ on Manuel Valls’ views on Islamofascism, his personal experience with anti-Semitism, and the economic reforms he views as essential for France.