'Key French jihadi recruiter' arrested


A 30-year-old jihadi described by the French Interior Ministry as "very dangerous" was arrested on his arrival at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris last week.

Mourad Fares had been extradited from Turkey, where he had been arrested a month earlier at the request of French authorities.

Fares is accused of being a key recruiter of French Muslims for jihad and organising their transfer to Syria and Iraq via Turkey.

Some commentators in France have cast doubt over this claim, however.

Fares publicised his activities on Facebook and in interviews with Le Nouvel Observateur, a national weekly, and news website Vice. He even said that he knew most young French jihadis fighting in the Middle East. According to experts, this is not the behaviour one would expect from an activist involved in that kind of work.

Fares was a relatively recent convert to jihadism. Born in a moderately religious Moroccan family in Thonon-les-Bains, a pleasant spa resort on Lake Geneva, he was a successful student and then trained to be a hotelier. He left for the Middle East in winter 2013. There he produced videos calling on Muslims to join the holy war.

● According to the Representative Council of French Jewry, antisemitic incidents increased by 91 per cent in the seven first months of 2014, as compared with 2013.

Reacting to the figures, Haim Korsia, who was elected Chief Rabbi of France in June, said that French society appeared indifferent to the threat. "In France [now], have you seen a march of support saying it's inadmissible to attack houses of worship?" he said.

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