The gulf between British and French treatment of preachers of hatred and violence was thrown sharply into focus yesterday when France announced the summary expulsion of a dozen Islamists between now and the end of August.
A tough new anti-terrorism package was unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and a popular centre-Right politician.
His proposals reflect French determination to act swiftly against extremists in defiance of the human rights lobby, which is noticeably less vocal in France than in Britain.
Imams and their followers who fuel anti-western feeling among impressionable young French Muslims will be rounded up and returned to their countries of origin, most commonly in France’s case to its former north African colonies.
Mr Sarkozy also revealed that as many as 12 French mosques associated with provocative anti-western preaching were under surveillance. Imams indulging in inflammatory rhetoric will be expelled even if their religious status is recognised by mainstream Muslim bodies.
Those who have assumed French citizenship will not be protected from deportation. Mr Sarkozy said he will reactivate measures, “already available in our penal code but simply not used”, to strip undesirables of their adopted nationality. “We have to act against radical preachers capable of influencing the youngest and most weak-minded,” Mr Sarkozy told the French daily Le Parisien.
The first to be caught in the new round of expulsions is an Algerian, Rena Ameuroud, whose brother Abderraham was jailed in France earlier this year for his part in a jihadist training exercise in the Fontainebleau forest south of Paris. He faces immediate deportation for allegedly urging fellow-worshippers at a Parisian mosque to engage in “holy war”.
At least seven French nationals are now known to have been killed while fighting with anti-coalition insurgents in Iraq, in some cases as suicide bombers, the minister said. A further 10 are believed still to be there. France, which has Europe’s largest Muslim population with estimates varying from five to nine million out of a population of 60 million, has long prided itself on its stern approach to terrorism.
My distaste for the French is well-known. But let’s give credit where credit is due.
The French are deporting the leaders of a potential terroristic fifth column. Good for them.
Now, why doesn’t the US government do the same thing? Is multicultural political correctness really more important and valuable than the lives of those Americans who will almost inevitably be murdered by terrorist scum in the near future?
Of course not. So let’s follow France’s lead, and evict the hate-mongering imams who come to this country only to denounce it and encourage “holy war” against it.
And if the ACLU whines about it, tough s**t.