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Jelle van Buuren Discusses the Terrorist Attacks in France on RTL Nieuws and NOS

On 29 October a terrorist attack occurred in Nice. On the same day assaults also took place at the French consulate in Saudi Arabia and in the city of Lyon. How is it that France is so frequently targeted by extremists?

France is such frequent target in part because of its important political and military role in the Middle East and Western Africa, according to Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University. As a result, they are a highly visible target: 'It's a large and powerful country, so if you're able to lay one on them, you're someone to be reckoned with. France also distinguishes itself because of the separation between church and state. That doesn't sit well with parts of the Islamic world. The Charlie Hebdo trial also played an important role these last few weeks', says Van Buuren. 'Tensions have run high in France for weeks, in part because of the trial'. 


The underlying philosophy of the attacks in France still revolves around the theme of vengeance, according to Van Buuren. 'Terrorists take revenge for the insulting of the prophet. In doing so the extremists are looking to reject the freedom of speech. This philosophy shows that the extremist ideology is still very much alive in France. Not only is it violent, but it also denounces the core values of the society'. Van Buuren believes that it will be difficult to fight this extremist ideology. 'In France it’s a political fight, but the religious values are all that matters to these extremist Muslims'. 

You can read the full articles (in Dutch) on the websites of RTL Nieuws and the NOS

Jelle van Buuren is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University - Institute of Security and Global Affairs. His research interests lie in, among other things, European police cooperation, intelligence cooperation and border management. He is currently researching what role conspiracy thinking is playing in processes of delegitimisation.

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