“We have to stop believing that the solution is to put everyone in prison. People come out of prison and after that what have we done to help them change?”
These are the words of Farid Benyettou, the former Al-Qaeda recruiter and man responsible for training the men who carried out the Charlie Hebdo shootings in 2015. After serving four years in prison, Benyettou decided to devote his life to convincing young potential jihadists to turn away from radical Islamist groups like ISIS. Benyettou’s “learn from my example” approach to deradicalization is just one of many methods France has employed to deal with former terrorists. Unfortunately, most of its other methods involve incarceration.
This Channel 4 News video will walk you through interviews with former Islamic radicals, discuss the dangers of radicalization via social media, and take you on a tour of the countryside halfway house that was built as a deradicalization center before being closed for business. All of which should serve as reminders that when it comes to rehabilitating members of terrorist groups, France has a lot to learn, and a long way to go.