What a Relief!: Relatively “Few” Islamic Radicals Employed at French Airports

Posted by John Rosenthal

Philippe de Villiers, President of the French political party Movement for France (MPF) and candidate for the French Presidency in 2007, is coming out with a new book this week titled The Mosques of Roissy [Les Mosquées de Roissy]. In it, Mr. de Villiers, citing the French domestic intelligence service, the renseignements généraux (RG), and police reports, warns about the presence of Islamic radicals – including, most notably, adherents of the rigorist Salafi current of Islam – among the employees of French airports.


In yesterday’s edition [dated 26 April], Le Monde quickly responded with an article supposed to demonstrate that Mr. de Villiers has exaggerated the danger. The article is titled "Few Muslim Radicals Employed in the Airports, according to the RG" [link in French]. Here some reassuring excerpts:

As a percentage of all employees, the number of persons who are reported to engage in religious activism is not high. For example, there are supposed to be some forty Islamists employed at Orly [Airport, south of Paris]. At Roissy [Charles de Gaulle Airport, north of Paris], 122 sensitive cases have been noted….


Of the 5000 employees of the Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport, only 20 are considered to be radicals…


The strategy of the Salafists takes various forms. Some militants make their convictions known: refusing to have any contact with female personnel, growing their beards and wearing the djellaba, or, for instance, demanding adjusted schedules to accommodate their prayers. In Lyon, employees of the company Servair wrote pro Bin Laden slogans on the doors of a plane.


Others Salafists remain discreet…. In Montpellier, an employee of Air Littoral airlines seemed to be above  suspicion. Nonetheless, the RG discovered that he had contacts with a regional Salafi network.


De Villiers is, incidentally, openly arrayed among the allegedly "Islamophobe" "Extreme Right" by Le Monde. Among other reasons, because of statements like the following, which is cited as evidence by Le Monde in an accompanying article: "Islam is the terrain on which Islamism develops and Islamism is the terrain on which terrorism develops".

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