France still wrestling with how to overcome ‘insidious enemy’ that is radical Islamism

French president Emmanuel Macron has denounced “underground Islamism” as a new row has again flared in France over how to counter the influence of radical Salafist interpretations of Islam. Some have called for an outright ban.

In the wake of Friday’s shootings by Radouane Lakdim, officials disclosed his links starting in 2013 with “the Salafist movement”, a Sunni Muslim branch originating in Saudi Arabia which promotes a strict conservative lifestyle.

While a majority of Salafists disdain violence as they adher to the fundamentalist traditions of “pious ancestors”, some of its followers embrace using force to promote their beliefs.

“It is not only the terrorist organizations, the armies of Daesh, the imams of hate and death that we are fighting against,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday.

“What we are fighting against is also this underground Islamism … which indoctrinates on our soil and corrupts daily,” he said, denouncing this “insidious enemy that requires every citizen to be vigilant and civic-minded.”