Police stand outside the Stade de France where explosions were reported to have detonated outside the stadium during the France vs German friendly soccer match near Paris, November 13, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli expert on radical Islam who was in Paris advising on the topic before and after Friday’s attacks in the city, told The Jerusalem Post that French officials were shocked and that security measures following the massacre were lacking.
“The French have had many threats recently, but not something actionable, and then this attack happened,” said Dina Lisnyansky, an Islamic terrorism consultant from Bar-Ilan University, who also teaches at the Hebrew University.
Lisnyansky, who is also the co-founder of the Petah Tikva-based Israeli Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, returned from Paris on Sunday after meeting with French officials about radical Islam.
According to her, French intelligence has been picking up on constant threats, mostly due to the recent wave of immigration, but these attacks came as a surprise.
“Specific people in the Muslim community have been subjected to radical propaganda and these people are all over Paris and their major cities,” Lisnyansky said.
A source familiar with French officials told the Post
that French law has tied the hands of the security forces and that President François Hollande is planning to update the legal system so it can more adequately deal with Islamic radicals.
ISIS calls on Muslims to carry out attacks in France
After the attacks, Lisnyansky noticed a big increase in the number of security personnel at strategic sites in Paris, but on her departure, the government had failed to secure the airport, she said.
“The taxi that I came to the airport in was able to pull into the terminal drop-off area without any check and I entered the airport without any security check as well,” she said. “The airport could have been an easy bombing target.”
Asked if she envisions French security matching Israeli security measures – including placing guards at every public center’s entrance – Lisnyansky responded that France is not there yet.
Muslim immigrants who grew up in France have been drawn close to Islam by Muslim Brotherhood-style groups, which are performing dawa – proselytizing of Islam – outreach carried out by institutions of social welfare services, and through Koran classes and educational propaganda.
Within this framework, French Muslims are being taught that loyalty to Islam is much more important than loyalty to the state. “This has been going on for more than 20 years,” she said.
She compares this to what the Islamic Movement has done in Israel, with its more radical Northern Branch leader, Raed Salah, inciting the Muslim public against Jews, but carefully avoiding being connected with any actual attacks.
The Islamic Movement in Israel is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
More radical jihadist groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaida are able to recruit from this pool of true believers in France.
The Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), an umbrella organization, has been pushing the Muslim Brotherhood agenda across the country for decades, though they claim they have nothing to do with Islamists, asserted Lisnyansky.
The French conception of terrorist threats may be changing, she continued, but French officials say that they “cannot be perceived to be going to war against their own people – they don’t want a civil war.”
According to her assessment, French government officials are not adequately differentiating between the various Islamist groups and their differing ideologies and operation methods.