Friday 9 December 2016

How religion drives someone to murder their fellow citizens

Terrorists have adopted Salafism, a form of conservative Islam that rejects liberal French values and seeks to justify jihadism, writes Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens

Published 16/07/2016 | 02:30

Midlle East specialist and Professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (IEP) Gilles Kepel. Photo: JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images
Midlle East specialist and Professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (IEP) Gilles Kepel. Photo: JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

As the scale of the devastation in Nice becomes clearer, the reasons why remain as disputed as ever.

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Many are also asking how, given France’s heightened state of security, such an attack could still be carried out. The answer to this question is much more straightforward.

Isil, and al-Qa’ida before it, has long called for supporters in the West to carry out attacks against their own populations using any means at their disposal. Indeed, in 2010, the English-language al-Qa’ida online propaganda magazine suggested that readers use their cars to “mow down” crowds.

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