by Soeren Kern
June 1. Saber Lahmar, a 48-year-old Algerian who has lived in Bordeaux since his release from Guantánamo Bay in 2009, was charged with “terrorist association” and placed in pre-trial detention. He is suspected of providing financial, logistical and doctrinal aid to French jihadists who were planning to travel to Iraq and Syria. Lahmar was arrested in Bosnia in 2001 after being accused of plotting to bomb the American embassy in Sarajevo. In November 2008, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered Lahmar to be released from Guantánamo because there was insufficient reason to hold him. In December 2009, Robert C. Kirsch, a lawyer at the firm of WilmerHale, which represented Lahmar in federal court, said: “We are grateful for the courage and generosity of the French people and government, and for the ongoing effort by President Obama… which will now give Mr. Lahmar a chance to rebuild his life in France.”
June 1. A group of prominent intellectuals accused French authorities of covering up the April 4 murder of a Jewish woman by her Muslim neighbor. Kobili Traoré a 27-year-old Malian Muslim, tortured 66-year-old Sarah Halimi and threw her out of her third-story apartment. The letter criticizes the Paris Prosecutor’s Office for omitting hate crime charges from a draft indictment against Traoré. They cited a recording of the incident made by another neighbor. In it, Traoré can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” and calling Halimi “dirty Jew” to her face. Some observers believe the authorities covered up Halimi’s murder to prevent it from helping Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign.
June 2. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, banned Noorassur, a local insurance broker, from hanging a sign with the words “Islamic finance” because it “poses a high risk of disturbing public order.” Estrosi said the sign was placed in close proximity to the Promenade des Anglais, the site of the July 14, 2016 jihadist attack. He said that there was a risk to both the staff and the customers and that passersby might see the sign as a provocation. Noorassur’s founder, Sonia Mariji, filed a lawsuit against the city. “Islamic finance is not incompatible with the Republic,” she said. “I am a fruit of the Republic.” Her lawyer accused Estrosi of “conveying the idea that Islamic finance is linked to Islamist terrorism.”
June 6. Farid Ikken, a 40-year-old Algerian, attacked a police officer in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said the hammer attack was an “isolated act.” Ikken was later charged with “attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise.” Prosecutor François Molins said that Ikken was radicalized through Islamic State propaganda he found on the internet. Molins also confirmed that Ikken, who had recorded a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, was a former journalist who was legally living in France as a student working on his doctoral thesis.
|A policeman stands guard near Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on June 6, 2017, after Farid Ikken, a 40-year-old Algerian, attempted to murder a police officer at the site. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)|
June 8. In an interview with L’Obs, British Indian author Sir Salman Rushdie, the object of an Islamic death sentence for alleged blasphemy in his 1988 best-selling novel The Satanic Verses, blamed European leaders for refusing to see the reality of the origins of jihadism:
“I am in fundamental disagreement with these left-wing people who do everything to dissociate fundamentalism from Islam. Islam has been radicalized for fifty years. On the Shiite side, there was Imam Khomeini and his Islamic revolution. In the Sunni world, there was Saudi Arabia, which used its immense resources to finance the spread of this fanaticism of Wahhabism. But this historical evolution took place within Islam and not outside. When the people of the Islamic State attack, they do it by saying ‘Allahu Akbar.’ So how can we then say that this has nothing to do with Islam? It must be stopped.”
June 11. Three more men were charged with involvement in supplying the weapon that Karim Cheufri used to kill police officer Xavier Jugelé in Paris on April 20. A total of four suspects have been charged with directly or indirectly helping Cheufri, who was shot dead after killing Jugelé and wounding two other police officers on the Champs-Elysées.
June 13. President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May announced an anti-terror action plan to remove jihadist propaganda from the internet. The action plan includes exploring the possibility of legal penalties against social media companies if they fail to remove unacceptable content from their networks.
June 14. The mayor of Mandelieu-La-Napoule, Henri Leroy, called on the fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) to prohibit sales personnel from wearing Islamic headscarves. He said he had received repeated complaints from shopkeepers and local citizens who are “embarrassed by the religious attire of your employees.” He added: “I think it is useful to remind you that the municipality is attached to Republican values and to religious neutrality.” Feïza Ben Mohamed, a candidate in the local elections in the Alpes-Maritimes department accused Leroy of “Islamophobia” and of engaging in a “shameful polemic.”
For the remainder of the month, see the link above.