New terrorism in France
Meyer, Michael T.
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Today’s global community needs a better answer to the problem of jihadist violence. The threat continues to change, which often leaves states unprepared for the next violent event. This thesis illuminates one part of the discussion by addressing the following question: Why did France face an increased terror threat in 2012, when 10 years prior to this, it was widely praised for its effective counterterrorism efforts? This work recognizes a new version of global Salafist jihad, which manifests in a decentralized, transnational movement and uses social media to perpetuate a narrative of civilizational conflict. Then, an analysis of the dynamics of state-societal interaction in France prior to 2012 is used to identify three undercurrents that new terrorism could leverage. First, a review of the history of French Muslim political activism reveals that their success in winning concessions from the state is limited. Second, an increasing number of second-generation Muslim youth are unable to identify with either Eastern or Western culture. Third, France’s record of exceptionally Westernized Muslim sentiment likely antagonizes jihadist ideologues. By this framework, jihadists are motivated to recruit wayward youth with a narrative of renewed identity and purpose in jihad.
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