The frenzy in western media over the Moroccan origins of the hostage taker in a French supermarket Friday is indicative of a western penchant to seek scapegoats for their failed deradicalization and integration policies.
This tendency to blame the domestic radicalization to an external factor such as the “Moroccan origin” denotes a striking failure to understand the deep causes of the alienation of some Muslim youngsters who are left prey in French suburbs to delinquency and extremism.
The supermarket attacker, named Radouane Lakdim, 25, was born in Morocco but has no link to the African Kindgom whatsoever. He was brought to France when he was 7-month old and was raised and educated in France.
The analyses that deliberately seek to put the blame on the Moroccan origins of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Europe are as superficial as they are lame. A look at the biography of Lakdim shows that he has moved to France before the age of adulthood.
The persistence of Western media to raise the Moroccan nationality whenever a terrorist of Moroccan-origins perpetrates a terrorist attack in Europe is actually clouding the real reasons behind the terrorist threat across Europe: domestically radicalized youth, failed integration policies and intelligence failures.
Radouane Lakdim who pledged allegiance to IS was known to police for petty crimes and drug-dealing. The state prosecutor François Molins said he had been under surveillance in 2016 and 2017 for his “radicalism and proximity to Salafist movements” but had showed no signs he was going to carry out an attack.
The shooting spree and supermarket hostage-taking on Friday, which left four dead and 16 people injured – including two very seriously – was the first major suspected terrorist incident since President Emmanuel Macron lifted France’s two-year state of emergency last autumn and toughened anti-terror laws. It was claimed by ISIS terror group.
The spread of confusion by highlighting every now and then the origins of the terrorists will backfire. Spreading such amalgam plays into the discourse of far-right groups who are seeking to pin all that goes wrong in the Western societies on Muslim immigrants.
Such discrimination, if not contained, will result in a counter reaction and an increased stigmatization, which could lead to radicalization. The wise thing to do is to tackle terrorism as a global problem requiring the help and contribution of the Muslim diaspora, authorities and the media and trans-border cooperation.