According to a confidential memo, dated January 2016, from the anti-terrorist unit of the French interior ministry, France is already host to 8,250 radical Islamists (a 50% increase in one year).
Some of these Islamists have gone to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS); others have infiltrated all levels of society, starting with the police and the armed forces.
A leaked confidential memo from the Department of Public Security, published by Le Parisien, details 17 cases of police officers radicalized between 2012 and 2015. Particularly noted were the police officers who listen to and broadcast Muslim chants while on patrol.
Some of these police officers have openly refused to protect synagogues or to observe a minute of silence to commemorate the deaths of victims of terrorist attacks.
In addition, the police were alerted to a policewoman who incited terrorism on Facebook, and called her police uniform a "filthy rag of the Republic" while wiping her hands on it. In January 2015, immediately after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher kosher supermarket in Vincennes, which had left 17 people dead, she wrote on her Facebook page: "Masked attack led by Zionist cowards... They need to be killed."
That police officers are armed and have access to police databases only intensifies anxiety.
Although police headquarters in Paris claims that these cases are rare, they have decided to review on a weekly basis any behavior that oversteps the principle of separation of church and state, such as that of Muslim officers who appear to be leaning toward radicalization. Patrice Latron, who manages the office of the Paris police prefect, told Le Parisien that these phenomena are "very marginal."
The police are not the only ones who are anxious; the French military is concerned as well. There are no statistics for the number of Muslim soldiers in the French armed forces, but it is commonly thought that there are many, and that they are vulnerable to Islamist influences, given that France in engaged militarily in Africa, against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and against the Islamic State in the Middle East. Since the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, however, France's largest military operation has been on national soil: 10,000 armed soldiers are now deployed in France to protect synagogues, Jewish schools, train and subway stations, and also some mosques -- to show Muslims that the French Republic does not see them as enemies. Their mission is no longer to be simply a complementary force but, as Le Figaro explained, to "deploy, on a permanent basis, interior military operations."
As early as 2013, during the fifth national security parliamentary conference, Colonel Pascal Rolez, adjunct to the assistant director of the counter-intervention unit of the Defense Security Protection Department (DPSD), declared, "We are witnessing an increase in radicalization among the French military, notably since the Merah affair." Recall that Mohammed Merah, a young French Muslim, murdered three French soldiers in Toulouse and Montauban, as well as murdering four French Jews at a school in Toulouse... Read more