danor shtruzman / CC-BY-2.0

Prompted in part by justifiable fears of violence at the hands of militarized foreigners, the French government on Monday announced plans to set up a dozen deradicalization centers across the country for the purpose of identifying, housing and reforming would-be terrorists.

The Guardian reports:

The introduction of “reinsertion and citizenship centres” in each region is part of an 80-point plan to combat home-grown terrorism, unveiled by the socialist government on Monday.

The two-year plan includes a raft of anti-terrorism measures aimed at combatting the increasing number of young people in France drawn to jihadi groups, and at establishing an early warning system to pick up those tempted to join.

The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, said fighting the appeal of “deadly” doctrines was the greatest challenge the country faced in more than 70 years. He said there had to be a “general mobilisation” of all sectors of society to fight the problem following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. …

An anonymous freephone number for members of the public to report extremist suspects to the police and help for families of those who have been radicalised, both set up in 2014 under a previous deradicalisation plan are to be extended. Measures to protect sensitive and vulnerable sites and facilities, including nuclear plants and public transport, against terrorist attacks are to be tightened.

A scientific committee to research the reasons for radicalisation and terrorism is also being established, with university grants for related studies. France’s intelligence and security services are to be given more staff and money.

The deradicalisation centres will house young people who “could have repented and who we will test the sincerity and willingness to be reintegrated back into society for the long term”, Valls said.

The prospects for overreach and abuse of this program should concern all of us who value free thought. Radicalization — a questioning of conventional values and social conditions — is a natural and sometimes necessary response to oppression of various forms and does not necessarily entail threats of violence. One wonders how long it will be before similar institutions are formed in the United States.

Read more.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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