The French government has released some stunning figures to illustrate the intensity of ISIS recruiting efforts in their country. There are at least 2,600 websites in French, run by the terror state and its supporters, and they generate over 40,000 Twitter messages per day, reaching some 2.8 million followers.
The figures were obtained by the French newspaper Le Monde from the Ministry of Defense and discussed by the English-language site The Local. France’s response to the ISIS online threat is that it’s “slow compared to that of the US and the UK,” but about to shift into a much higher gear.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced his government will “be hiring hackers and also online ‘community managers’ to more closely monitor the extremists,” in an effort to “more effectively cross swords with jihadist recruiters.”
“The interior minister has also said that authorities had blocked 36 illegal websites in recent months, which have in some way promoted jihadism,” The Local adds. They have also released a “shock video campaign earlier this year in the hope of dissuading more young French nationals from heading to the Middle East to fight with the Islamic jihadists.”
The video in question was designed to contrast the seductive promises of ISIS recruiters with the horrible reality of life in the Islamic State, where the French government assured young people, “you’ll find hell on earth and you’ll die alone, far from home.”
“France, after Belgium, has witnessed the largest number of youths leaving to join ISIS,” writes the Daily Sabah from Istanbul. “As part of the counter-terrorism operation, France has seized six French passports and banned more than 40 people linked to ISIS in Syria and Iraq from travelling abroad. In France, youths have become more interested in ISIS-linked recruitment. It is estimated that 45 percent of the French people calling the hotline to join ISIS were young women. Up to 10,000 European home-grown militants could travel to Iraq and Syria by the end of this year, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in March.”
The Daily Sabah observes that European police organization Europol is worried that “roughly 5,000 radicalized European fighters in Syria will continue to pose a greater risk to European countries as they become more hostile to the West.”
A large-scale return home by these trained militant fighters will also become an even greater terrorist recruiting problem than the Islamic State’s hideously effective online system. If French authorities think the problem is bad now, just wait until every group of disaffected, jihad-curious youths can gather around a battle-hardened ISIS veteran fresh out of Syria with tales of glorious holy war.