France could inadvertently encourage Islamophobia through its new anti-terrorism campaign “designed to dissuade potential jihadists from joining extremist elements fighting in the Middle East.”
Following the terror attacks in Paris last month, the French government introduced “Stop Djihadisme” – a new counter-terrorism program that contains information for parents worried their children might be getting recruited by terrorist outfits.
The strategy is similar of the United States’ “Think Again, Turn Away” initiative to combat radicalization, however the French are a tad more irrational in the approach.
While it’s understandable that France is indeed working in the best interest of its citizens and their security, a brief look at the guidelines “to spot a jihadist” reveals extreme paranoia that could have a devastating effect on the country’s Muslims population. Have a look:
1: Terrorists leave friends because they consider them “impure”
In the light of this guideline, any sort of rift between a Muslim and a non-Muslim friend could potentially lead to allegations of terrorism.
2: Leave family
A lot of people (both Muslims and non-Muslims) don’t live with their families for a myriad of reasons.
3: They change their eating habits
Perhaps the most absurd guideline on the list is this one. Eating patterns of Muslims can change pretty much all the time since they fast not only in the month of Ramadan but also in other days of the year.
4: Stop paying attention to professional discussions
This could be “anyone.” For example, people suffering from depression often lose interest inn professional/educational activities.
5: Stop listening to music
A number of non-violent Muslims don’t like listening to music because they don’t find it peaceful. Does that mean they are capable of carrying out attacks? Of course not.
6: Don’t watch television, movies, etc.
Again, just like music, this is a ridiculous indicator.
7: Mixed gender sports
So a Muslim man or woman doesn’t want to be in the same pool with other people… does this make them capable of murder?
8: Cover their bodies
As long as it is not forced, there should really be nothing wrong with the fact that a woman starts covering herself from head to toe.
9: Visit extremist websites
This is, to some extent, the only viable point in the entire list. Though it is also only applicable as long as a person visits such extremist websites on a daily basis.
Perhaps it’s best the French government reviews the cases and histories of notorious mass murderers including Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner, James Holmes and Anders Behring Breivik. Maybe then it would be able to realize the evident flaws in its Stop Djihadisme campaign.
It’s a good thing to be concerned about the wellbeing of your citizens but to do so while targeting a particular community is just insanity.