The author was known by the security forces as dangerous. The attack a few days ahead of the presidential election. The long series of violence in Paris, Nice, Rouen, and Marseilles. Causes to be found among poverty and abandonment in the suburbs, but also of the fundamentalist teaching of many imams in the French mosques.
Paris (AsiaNews) - A suspected terrorist, already known by security forces, killed a policeman and injured two more last night at 9am on the Champs Elisées. The attack, claimed immediately after by the Islamic State, takes place three days ahead of the presidential elections in the country.
The attacker's driver was driving an Audi 80 along the avenue when he stopped in front of a police car and fired with a machine gun. After killing one of the policemen and injuring two other colleagues, he was killed by other security soldiers.
A statement published on the IS news agency Amaq states that "the author of the attack on the Champs Elisees in central Paris is Abu Yussef, a Belgian, and he is one of the Islamic State fighters." According to some sources, the man was known by anti-terrorist forces and considered dangerous.
The attack seems to coincide with the conclusion of the presidential election campaign, somehow influencing the outcome, though according to sociological research, French voters are more concerned with issues such as unemployment and buying power than terrorism.
The attack takes place two days after the arrest in Marseilles of two men preparing an attack with weapons and explosives.
France has been tackling Islamic terrorism for a long time. There have been several attacks since 2015 that have killed more than 230 people. Among the most cruel, the January attack on Charlie Hebdo should be remembered; In November of the same year an attack on several sites, including the Bataclan Theater; In July 2016 an attack on the Nice seafront, the same month the killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel in a church of St Etienne du Rouvray, near Rouen.
Analysts point out the social origin of the attackers (abandoned suburbs, unemployment, etc.), but many instead blame the education that young people and adults receive in mosques from fundamentalist imams. Nimes Imam Hocine Drouiche commented on yesterday's attack on social media: "I call upon all the imams to condemn this attack with great firmness in all the French mosques and to launch an open and courageous campaign that fights the terrorist ideas of this Islamic current. The policy of hiding our heads in the sands is no longer valid and it will be considered by many French as a complicity. Muslim leaders, imams, and preachers must do their duty or resign immediately."
Hundreds of Muslims attended Catholic Masses yesterday, in a sign of solidarity and mourning for the killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel, near Rouen. His community has been very active in interfaith dialogue. One of the young terrorists who killed him took part in the prayer in the mosque. Manuel Valls proposes education for imams, and the blocking of foreign financing for mosques.
It had been closed since the day of the murder of the priest at the hands of two young jihadists. A ceremony of reparation led by the Archbishop of Rouen, followed by Mass. Pope Francis has agreed to the request of the faithful to accelerate the process of beatification. The ceremony was also attended by members of the local Muslim community.
Sharing and prayer between Christians and Muslims is the way to defeat the violence and nihilism of the fundamentalist fringe. Are the fundamentalists Muslims? Nothing they do is Islamic: to kill old people, children, destroy places of worship. Yet they cover themselves in phrases from the Koran and the aura of executioners, exploiting a literalist reading of the Koran. The time has come for Muslims to promote a theological interpretation of the holy book. By Paolo Nicelli, PIME missionary, professor and an expert on Islam.i
The young man had tried to go to Syria to fight with the Islamic State. In a video, Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, the two terrorists, swear allegiance to the "Caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Religious representatives in France: No to religious war. Muslim thinkers: To defeat Isis, guarantee religious freedom for non-Muslim communities in Islamic countries. Others ask for the revision of alliances with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey, supporters of the Wahabi jihadism and indirect supporters of the Islamic State.
Ahmad Al Tayyeb offers condolences to the French president, the archbishop of Rouen, the victims' families and to the whole of France. The assailants "devoid of any sense of humanity." In Islam "there is the order to respect the sacred places of worship and the sanctity of non-Muslims”. Counter terrorism means also fighting “extremist thought” in Islam.