Islamic Recruiters Target Potential Jihadees
PARIS – In a Paris suburb, four young men watch a video where a man is about to get his throat cut.
It takes his killers two minutes and five seconds to saw off his head. In the small, dark living room where it's being watched, no one even flinches.
This is a recruitment video screened by a French convert to Islam (search) who is looking to bring holy warriors into the fold.
It's a scene increasingly common across Europe — young Muslims being tapped to fight U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, a secretive process that can take months.
"It's definitely conditioning people slowly, over a long period of time for war, for holy war (search)," said political scientist Asiem El Difraoui.
In France, with more Muslims (search) than any other European nation — nearly 6 million — that recruitment often starts in the mosque and the ethnic ghettos that ring the capital.
The battle over Islam, some scholars say, will not be fought in Iraq or Ramallah but right here, in the suburbs of London or Paris. And the failure to integrate second-generation immigrations into European society could have deadly consequences.
"Radical Islamist movements want to use the presence of young people from Muslim descent in Europe in order to make out of them soldiers of jihads," said Gilles Keppel of the Institut d'etude Politique.
Imam Halima is a self-taught recruiter. He says he does not advocate violence but that Americans are bandits and holy war is a natural reaction for young Muslims.
"They are revolted and they want to kill as much as they can and die," Halima said.
On Fridays before prayers, the imam trolls the housing projects, looking for followers among the weak who may some day be ready to kill in the name of jihad.
Editor's Note: This is part three of a four-part series about the Muslim population abroad. Tomorrow's installation of this series will focus on how extremists from Britain's Muslim population continue to preach violence.