- Yussuf K. said he carried out the January 2016 attack “in the name of Allah and the Islamic State.” He added that he chose his victim because “he was Jewish.”
- A confidential police report revealed that more than 50 organizations in Molenbeek, a migrant-dominated neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium, are believed to have ties to jihadist terrorism.
- An Ipsos poll for France Television and Radio France found that 61% of the French believe that Islam is incompatible with French society.
March 2. In a landmark trial at the Paris Children’s Court, a 17-year-old Turkish jihadist, identified only as Yussuf K., was sentenced to seven years in prison for attacking Benjamin Amsellem, a Jewish teacher in Marseille, with a machete. Yussuf K. said he carried out the January 2016 attack “in the name of Allah and the Islamic State.” He added that he chose his victim because “he was Jewish.” Yussuf K. was charged with “an individual terrorist attempt and attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise,” with the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism. He was tried as a minor because he was 15 when he carried out the attack. The criminal trial of a minor on terror charges was the first of its kind in France, where some fifty children are currently being investigated for jihadist offenses.
March 2. The European Parliament voted to lift the immunity from prosecution for National Front leader Marine Le Pen for tweeting images of Islamic State violence. Under French law, publishing violent images can be punished by up to three years in prison and a fine of €75,000 euros ($79,000). Le Pen, a leading candidate in this year’s French presidential election, posted the images in response to a journalist who compared her party’s anti-immigration stance to the Islamic State. Le Pen denounced the legal proceedings against her as political interference in the campaign and called for a moratorium on judicial investigations until the election period has passed.
March 4. The mayor of the French port of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, signed a decree prohibiting aid groups from distributing meals to migrants and refugees at the site of the former “Jungle” migrant camp. The decree said food distribution by charities had led to large numbers of people gathering at the site of the now-closed camp, with fights breaking out and risks posed to the safety of local residents.
March 6. President François Hollande vowed to “do everything in his power” to prevent Marine Le Pen from winning the upcoming presidential election in France. Polls have suggested that Le Pen, leader of the National Front party, may win the first round of France’s election on April 23. Le Pen, who has campaigned on an anti-immigration platform, has also vowed to hold a referendum on France’s membership of the European Union. Hollande, who decided not to run for a second term, said it was his “ultimate duty to do everything to ensure that France is not convinced by such a plan” to take France out of the EU.
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