French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has called for a crackdown on terrorism in her country, with a specific focus on Islamists and foreigners with terror ties and the expulsion of radical imams and closure of Islamic mosques.
In the wake of the latest attack on Paris, of which ISIS has claimed responsibility, Le Pen has called for immediate actions to be taken in the interests of national security, drawing the clear connection between Islam, foreigners and terrorism in Europe.
“Preachers of hate must be expelled, Islamist mosques closed,” she said. “Secularism has to be applied strictly and in line with our republican principles – those which oppose the incessant provocation and spreading of the sectarian word by Islamists.”
“If I am elected president, I will put this battle plan against terrorism and penal weakness into force immediately so that we can protect the French people, and so that France and the French republic can live on.”
Le Pen said she would call for a return to French sovereignty, a resurrection of national borders, and a rejection of the European Union’s effectively border-less Schengen ‘free-movement’ zone.
She also declared that, if elected, she would take action against all persons in France with known affiliations to terrorist groups.
“I will ask solemnly for the restoration of our effective pre-Schengen borders and for the immediate administrative and penal treatment of IS [Islamic State] cases; in other words, of all individuals present on French soil who are known for their adhesion to enemy ideologies,” she said.
“We have to immediately introduce the expulsion of foreign cases, accelerated action for the loss of nationality for those with dual-nationality, and their immediate expulsion to their country of origin.”
In a national television appearance last night, she told the audience, “I don’t want you get used to the Islamic terrorism, I don’t want us to tell our youth that they will live daily with this danger. I want to put a plan of attack against Islamist terrorism.”
The suspect in Thursday’s attack, who was killed at the scene, has been named as Karim Cheurfi, an ISIS soldier also known as ‘Abu Yousuf al-Belgiki’ (The Belgian), who had already been convicted of attempting to murder police officers in 2001, but was released from prison early after serving part of a 20 year sentence.
Cheurfi was on a terrorist watch list, and had been arrested again in February for attempting to secure weapons to assassinate police.
Cheurfi was well known to the French government, and yet he was able to roam freely, acquire automatic weapons, and carry out his final horrific mission.
Le Pen’s nice, Marion, also a well-known politician and member of Front National, has issued several comments condemning the French government for their failure to properly handle Cheurfi before he took the life of officer Xavier Jugelé last night.
“How to explain to the family of the killed policeman and the French that the terrorist of the Champs Élysées, Karim Cheurfi, was at liberty despite a conviction for triple attempt of assassination of police and a suspicion of attempt of recurrence a few days ago?” she wrote on social media.
“Xavier, 37 years old, would still be alive if lax justice had not released Karim Cheurfi, only 15 years after his 3 attempted homicides on police officers.”
A recent study by Ifop polling firm revealed that a majority of French armed police support Marine Le Pen as their candidate of choice, and it is likely that that number will increase after last night’s tragedy.
France goes to the polls for round one on Sunday.