“Our son lived in a very privileged atmosphere. He liked music, he liked sports, he did sketch comedy,” said Veronique, a blonde white woman, speaking from her apartment in Paris. “And then one morning he leaves for Germany, and then from Germany he never came back.”
Veronique, identified only by her first name in a video released Wednesday by the French minister of the interior, is one of many parents of an estimated 1,500 French youths who have left the country since 2011 to rejoin the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Her story, part of a new ad campaign to prevent terrorism called “Stop Jihadism,” is aimed at discouraging radicalization of French youth, something that authorities customarily approach through policing. But France still has more people joining ISIS than any other Western European nation, and experts caution that the country’s latest tactics alone will not stop radicalization.