Interview with Mrs. Catherine Dumas, french politician member of the UMP

The beginning of 2015 was marked by horrific events, the Islamist attacks against the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, for publishing drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. The repercussion of these facts has been considerable, in France and abroad. Over four million people have manifested after the drama on the French territory, forty-four heads of state paraded on January 11th with more than one and a half million people, and many gatherings solidarity took place all around the world.

I had the honor and the privilege to interview Catherine Dumas on these terrorist acts and more particulary on security measures adoptedSénatrice et conseillère de Paris, Présidente du Club parlementaire de la Table française by the government to avoid new tragedies.

Since 1983, Madam Catherine Dumas was elected for mayor of the 17th district where she is Vice President of the UMP group. In the council of Paris since 2001, she was elected Senator from 2007 to 2011. She is also a regional councilor for Ile de France.

Following the attacks, a key issue had to be discussed; how to fight against this terrorism that continues to grow? Ms. Dumas explained me that the government had immediately responded by strengthening security measures, and also the Plan Vigipirate which is a tool of the fight plan against terrorism.

To do this, the Paris area and several departments of France were placed under surveillance, and public buildings, Jewish and Muslim religious places, public transport and department stores. These are more than one hundred twenty-two thousand soldiers, police and gendarmes were mobilized and according to her, it is a real effort from the law enforcement.

Then, I asked her if the anti-terrorism laws adopted by the government were quite beneficial for France. We have discussed a fundamental law, that of “fight against terrorism” admitted in January 2006, which aims to consolidate the French security through many means, for example, strengthening the control of communications or presence of surveillance in public places. In 2008 this law was completed by new measures.

Last November, another anti-terrorism law was passed, introducing a ban on leaving the territory to prevent the departure of French candidates for jihad in Iraq and Syria, by depriving them of their passport and identity card.

But with the aim of these terrorist acts, these laws should not be further strengthened? The government should not proclaim others? Ms. Dumas said me that shortly after these actions, the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, wanted to take further steps in improving the information in prison and generalizing isolation in prison of the radical Islamist detainees. Then, Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the UMP, wished to establish measures of ban on French’s territory of return of jihad in Syria.

With all her answers and explanations, I understood that the laws were not absolutely fixed, they evolved, and that news was created permanently with their time, so that the population feels in total safety in their country.

Finally, we talked about a current topic, these Europeans who are increasingly leaving to join Islamic State. I asked Madam Dumas several questions: how much is there from French present in Syria and in Iraq? How much of them are involved by the jihadist recruitment? And, why these people are they attracted by the ideologies of the jihad?

She learnt me that 15 000 people from 80 countries have joined Iraq and Syria. At European level, 3000 people have left their country. The Europeans killed in these two countries are estimated at 120 since the beginning of the conflict in 2012.

More than a thousand French nationals were involved in the jihadist sectors. By teaching me that actually, 260 French people expressed their desire to go join the Islamic State, I felt that Mrs. Dumas was confused.

For her, there really is no typical profile among French jihadists. The common point for many is to have made a return to Islam or a recent conversion. Concerning the recruitment, it made the most of the time on the Internet, social networks and dissemination of videos. These shocking images, the rhythms and catchy music, she qualifies them as indoctrination. They use even very brutal video games to attract as many young as possible.

Two hundred French people already came back from Syria and Irak because they were disappointed and very tired. So, how the French authorities react to these departures ? The parliament adopted an anti-terrorism bill which allows the families to report to the authorities the behavior of their close friends when they have doubts. Many departures were prevented and the police received more hundreds of reports. «This is another step forward» said Catherine Dumas.

Alexandra Peytel


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