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France Launches Anti-Jihadist Website

France Launches Anti-Jihadist Website

The French government launched an online platform Wednesday to counter jihadist propaganda, just three weeks after deadly terror attacks which claimed 17 lives in Paris.

The target audience is families and friends of young people at risk of radicalization, young people themselves, and the wider public, according to a government news release.

Entitled “Stop jihadism,” the website opens with a two-minute video which borrows the kind of visual codes normally employed by cyber jihadists: violent images sometimes punctuated by an ISIS flag on a Facebook page.

Then a message from a “recruiter” pops up, written in French slang:

“Hi. Cool stuff that you like, does it interest you what is happening in the Levant at the moment? If you have questions don’t hesitate, the truth is over there, it is now that we must leave! If you want more information give me your number I have friends there that fight I will put you in contact.”

 Then the video debunks, point by point, common arguments used by cyber recruiters:
  • They tell you: “Sacrifice yourself with us, you will defend a just cause.”
  • In reality: You will discover hell on earth and die alone, away from home.
  • They tell you: “Come start a family with one of our heroes.”
  • In reality: You will raise your children in war and terror.
  • They tell you: “Join us and come help Syrian children.”
  • In reality: You will be an accomplice in the massacre of civilians.

Each point is underlined on the screen by images of violence and suffering.

After the video, users are directed to the website’s homepage, where they can find out more about the terrorist threat, the government’s response, how to debunk jihadist propaganda and how French people can join together against the threat.

A toll-free number for “prevention of radicalization” is provided for families and friends who notice alarming signals such as “a sudden change of dietary habits” or “the rejection of family members.”

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