The French Interior Ministry has claimed the majority of online content on the practice of Islam in France is connected to the radical ideology of Salafism and Islamism.
The French Interior Ministry cited work by the Republican Counter-Discourse Unit (UCDR), which was created after the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty last year to counter radical Islamic ideologies and other forms of extremism.
According to a report from the magazine Le Point, the UCDR has noted twenty French-speaking authors who are said to be “particularly active” in promoting radical Islam and hateful ideologies as well as promoting Islamist separatist beliefs.
Around fifteen people make up the UCDR team and they collectively monitor social media platforms such as Twitter, Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram for extremist content and that a majority of the content posted in regards to practising Islam has some Salafist connection.
French Govt Made Nearly 10k Reports of Online Terrorist Content to Social Media This Year https://t.co/hYBAmXc7ZK
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 17, 2021
French Minister Delegate for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa commented on the prevalence of radical Islamist material online saying, “The assassination of Samuel Paty has accentuated the feeling that we must act on social networks.”
“We must respond to these discourses,” she said and added that more should be done to “help young people who are poorly informed on social networks to exercise their free will by producing their own content advocating the values of the Republic.”
Last week, the French Interior Ministry stated that the Pharos platform, an initiative to report illegal content online, has found and reported nearly 10,000 cases of terrorist material to social media companies for removal.
According to Pharos, which also works with NGOs to examine and investigate illegal online content, the number of reports about terrorist content had increased by 213 per cent since 2020.
Since the killing of Mr Paty, who was murdered by a Chechen refugee extremist after showing cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed to his class, the government of President Emmanuel Macron has moved against radical Islamic ideologies, including what the government calls “Islamist separatism.”
“In certain districts and on the internet, groups linked to radical Islam are teaching hatred of the Republic to our children, calling on them to disregard its laws,” President Macron explained last December.
“That is what I called ‘separatism’ in one of my speeches. If you do not believe me, read the social media postings of hatred shared in the name of a distorted Islam that resulted in Paty’s death,” the French president said.
Macron: Parts of France Are ‘Breeding Grounds’ for Terrorists https://t.co/XravemhJjC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 6, 2020