For roughly a decade, Islamic terrorism has become one of the main threats to the security of Western societies. The recent attacks aimed at various Western countries have proven that the radicalization of Islamism is now closely tied to the issue of terrorism. This recent radicalization is a common feature in Western societies which find themselves challenged by homegrown as well as international terrorism. The challenge requires countries to find a way to implement efficient counter-terrorist measures. Therefore, it seems necessary to focus on the process of radicalization in order to identify its origins and possibly prevent this phenomenon.
Given this increasingly pressing issue, France is a particularly interesting case that requires a special analysis. On the one hand, France has recently witnessed tragic attacks perpetrated by Mohamed Merah in March 2012 which resulted in the death of seven people. Thus, these events support the idea that the issue of Islamist radicalization is more and more crucial to the security of the country. On the other hand, the unique relationship between France and Islam is rooted in a long history of exchanges, under various forms (colonization, wars, migrations) which explain its current position as the European country with the highest rate of Muslim population.
The particularities of France suggest that the rise of Islamism and its radicalization can only be understood through a reflexion on the evolution of the Muslim communities in France and their recent evolution. In order to fully acknowledge how the radicalization of Islamism in France is an accute issue, it is necessary to focus on the structure and representation of Muslim communities and the various reactions it inspired to the rest of the French population and the government. It is important to analyze the process of radicalization, which has become a threat to the national security and examine the various steps of the process. This deep examination is necessary in order to make sense of the Islamist terrorist threat today and to map out the prospects for France.