Less than a month after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, France has renewed its focus on finding would-be jihadis before they have a chance to carry out a mass attack. How does one spot these recently radicalized Frenchmen (and women)? The government has put out new posters as part of its Stop Djihadisme campaign, highlighting nine possible signs that someone has radicalized.
Among the signals is a newfound mistrust of old friends, who, the publication suggests, radicalized jihadis now consider “impure.” French authorities are also on the lookout for sudden changes in eating habits or women who suddenly start to dress more modestly, as well as Muslims who begin to eschew music and pop culture because it may conflict with their faith. Other signs include a sudden rejection of family members, a refusal to participate in mixed-gender sports, and an abandonment of academic or professional pursuits … along with frequent visits to extremist social-media content.
The campaign also features French-language YouTube videos, talking about the reality of ISIS rule:
But these campaigns presume a cookie-crumb trail of clues about extremism. The reality can be much more ambiguous. A newly released video still of Amedy Coulibaly, the hostage-taker at the kosher grocery store in Paris, shows him and partner Hayat Boumedienne allegedly casing a Jewish school before the Paris attacks. In the video, he’s wearing teal shorts, while Boumedienne sports short-shorts and a low-cut tank top. It’s hardly the garb of would-be extremists, as presented by the government.