Le Monde | • Updated | By
To the chagrin of its residents, the town of Lunel, in Hérault, became an object of media curiosity. Nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” in the Middle Ages, a Protestant stronghold fought by royalty in the seventeenth th century, the city is now regarded as a miniature laboratory of jihad “made in France”. To the extent that article was devoted to him in the pages of New York Times , January 16
Since November 2013, twenty Lunellois. – Counting women and children – joined Syria. Six have lost their lives, nearly a tenth of the number of French deaths in the country. The “French” section of this routing cell was dismantled, Tuesday, January 27, for a raid. After police custody on Saturday 31, the five young men arrested were indicted for “criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise” .
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B. Adil, 36, and Ali A., 44, recently returned from Syria. Mr Hamza, 26, whose three brothers went to jihad, is considered the “relay” principal between Lunel and Aleppo. Jawad S., 28, is believed to have wanted to ride scams to finance his journey and that of his comrades. As for Saad B., 26, is accused of having facilitated the departure of his brother who died.
Twenty jihad candidates in a common barely 26,000 souls : the case has caught the imagination. Yet there is no lunelloise specificity. A Lunel, as in Strasbourg, Nice and Toulouse, routing cells are built by capillary action. This is usually bands of friends who influence each other to constitute departures from homes. A horizontal dynamic likely to affect in the same proportions big cities and small towns.
Members of Lunel cell are mostly known in college. They played basketball together. A few years later, they reconnected attending the El Baraka Mosque of Tabligh obedience, one proselyte pietistic movement that does not call for violence. On the sidelines of the community of the faithful – the generation of their parents – they are a “prayer group” in which they find themselves in the evening. They work in parallel in a Muslim charity that helps sick and needy families.
Inspired by this humanitarian quest, religious and community, young people gradually interested in the Syrian conflict. They check on the internet, watch videos, immersed the duty to defend their “brothers” oppressed. In November 2013, two months after the United States withdrew their intervention against the army of Bashar al-Assad, a first-equipped flew to Syria. These pioneers are believed to have joined a “katiba” – a battalion. – Affiliated with Al Nosra Front, a jihadist group agreed with Al-Qaida, that of Mourad Fares and Omar Diaby, the two main French recruiters
Among them, Abdelkarim B., treasurer of the association, will lose his life in December 2014. His brother Saad, 26, suspected of helping from, was set Saturday Review. In February, May and July 2014 will succeed three new departures waves. The destination has changed: Lunellois now join the ranks of the Islamic State, which has taken over militarily and media-Al Nosra. According to the intelligence services, some serve as “facilitators” at the Turkish-Syrian border, other supervisors or instructors.
The three brothers M., both of whom died in combat are suspected of the worst abuses. The fourth sibling, Hamza, who never left, has also been put in Saturday Review. It is considered by the General Directorate of Homeland Security as the most active member of the lunelloise cell, one that animated the meetings of the “prayer group”. This is the young man who, through his brothers in Syria is believed to have acted as “relay” for weak-willed.
The mosque of Lunel, of Tabligh obedience, she has had an influence on the decision of these young people to join Syria? Probably not directly. This missionary movement is apolitical and rejects violence. But to him who managed the mosque until 2012, its literalist reading of the texts could help legitimize their departure
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“They wanted to live their religion. They are dead, it’s their choice , says Ben Abdelkader Meziane. They made no attempt in France. Why do they leave? Because they are prevented from practicing their religion: there is the veil of problem at school, certificates for Eid , he lists. My son wanted to learn the religion. He never spoke of fighting. “ He died in Syria in May.