Ex Jihadists

Can a Jihadist be rehabilitated into society?  Is this de-radicalization even possible? 

Two former French Jihadist talk to En Portada to offer the keys to this de-radicalization process and the abandon of this ideology. 


“When you assume that logic, you can kill all of those who do not think like you” David Vallat says.  “I validated the dead of innocent people”, confesses Farid Benyettou.  When you fall into ideological radicalization that takes you to justify the dead of innocents, how can you escape that mechanism?  Is it possible to recover Jihadists?

En Portada puts down this question through two former French Jihadists who accepted to talk to us:  David Vallat who was trained in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda and convicted for his participation in the network responsible of the attack of Saint Michel station in Paris.   And Farid Beyettou, convicted for recruiting youngsters to combat in Iraq; among them the Chérif brothers and Saïd Kouachi, the perpetrators of the killing in the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

Vallat and Benyettou tell in first person their own experiences and they offer the keys to this phenomenon: the profile of the youngsters that fall into their networks, the alarm signs to detect radicalization, the speech used to recruit them, how they get isolated, how difficult is to get out of this…

Both have served their prison sentence; but when they have abandoned their ideology, the armed groups they belonged to have condemned them to death.  “When you leave the group, you are a traitor, someone who deserves to be dead” explains Farid Benyettou.  Still, both of them feel in debt with their country and are willing to contribute to the fight against religious radicalization.

The latest Jihadist attacks in France have been perpetrated by nationals.  Getting to know how Jihadism works from within can become a powerful tool to fight it, according to some experts in Jihadist radicalization.  Nevertheless, an inevitable doubt raises over them; with their Jihadist past, is it possible restoration and social rehabilitation?




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