Courtesy of France

France Publishes 'How To Spot a Jihadist' Citizen's Guide

The French government releases new anti-jihadist literature Wednesday as part of a broader counterterrorism response to the Paris attacks.

How do you spot a radical jihadist? According to the French government, several signs should alert people that “a process of radicalization is underway.” “They” (meaning radicalized individuals):

mistrust old friends, whom they now consider ‘impure’… abruptly change their eating habits … no longer watch television or go to the movies because [these may show] images that are forbidden to them … change their attire, especially women, with clothes that conceal the body … [and] stop listening to music because it distracts them from their ‘mission.’

These individuals, the French government states in new anti-jihadist literature published Wednesday, also “withdraw into themselves, displaying antisocial behavior, rejecting every form of authority, or life in community.” Not unlike a Symptom Checker post on WebMD, the guidance contains a caveat: “The identification of one or more of these signs does not necessarily indicate radicalization.” So how exactly is someone in France supposed to tell the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’?

That question has been on the minds of many since the deadly attacks earlier this month on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket. Now, almost three weeks after the biggest unity march in France’s history , the French government has launched a campaign called “Stop-djihadisme” to prevent the sort of Islamist radicalization that resulted in the death of 17 people in Paris. Using the hashtag #StopDjihadisme on social media, the campaign represents a sharp shift in official rhetoric—from a message of solidarity and shared identity (embodied in the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie ) to one of steady vigilance and action.

The campaign, a kind of French take on the Department of Homeland Security’s “ If You See Something, Say Something ” initiative, includes a Stop-djihadisme website with information on how to “decrypt” Islamist recruitment strategies on the Internet and a video that attempts to dissuade would-be jihadists from joining extremist groups like ISIS:

They tell you: ‘Sacrifice yourself at our sides, you will defend a just cause.’ In reality, you will discover hell on earth, and you will die alone, far from home. They tell you: ‘Come found a family with one of our heroes.’ In reality, you will kidnap your children into war and terror. They tell you: ‘Join us and come to the aid of Syrian children.’ In reality, you will be complicit in the massacre of civilians. ... The indoctrination speech of Jihadists makes new victims every day.

A French official reached through the French Embassy in Washington, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the campaign is part of a raft of new counterterrorism measures that the government is taking following the Paris attacks, including hundreds of hires by domestic-intelligence services and increased security at mosques and synagogues. Combined, these measures will cost at least €700 million over the next three years. The official added that the French Parliament recently passed a law to block websites that promote terrorism and terrorism-related content on search engines. The Stop-djihadisme site “is aimed at combatting the dissemination of terrorist messages by showing the individuals who express an interest in jihadist propaganda the cruel and heinous reality about the terrorist groups that are behind it,” the official said.

Reviews on Twitter have been mixed:

Loïc Garnier, head of the French government’s anti-terrorism unit (known as UCLAT ), says in a video on the Stop-djihadisme website that France currently faces “a double danger” from radical Islam: first, French interests abroad are threatened, and second, “a certain number of jihadists—not all, far from it”—may commit acts of violence at home, once they have been radicalized “from the outside.”

Groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS certainly leverage online social networks to transmit propaganda, rally sympathizers, and recruit fighters to places like Yemen and Syria. But it’s worth noting that those responsible for the recent attacks in Paris appear to have been radicalized primarily in French prisons, where a #StopDjihadisme hashtag is of little use. Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman at the kosher supermarket, told French police as early as 2010—when he was convicted for attempting to help a plotter of the 1995 Paris subway bombings escape from jail—that he knew terrorists while incarcerated. In fact, Coulibaly met one of the brothers who staged the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Chérif Kouachi, in prison; Kouachi was being held for a botched effort to join insurgent forces in the Iraq War. Kouachi’s “prison stint hardened him even further,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. “Lawyers involved in the case watched the transformation from amateur jihadist to a glowering man who once resisted three days of police efforts to question him.”

France, like the United States before it, has responded to the trauma of terrorism by ratcheting up domestic surveillance . The online counterterrorism initiative in particular is a means of recruiting citizens in the struggle to detect and contain radicalized Islamists. The significance of the campaign is clear: If #JeSuisCharlie was a way of encouraging the French people to rally behind a common cause, #StopDjihadisme is a way of persuading them to target a common enemy.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.