France combats extremism with secularism — and a hotline

As featured in Public Radio International



“The problem with the French approach is not so much omitting religion. What is more problematic is the enforced secularism,” says Raffaello Pantucci, director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank on defense and security issues based in London. “Most people radicalize for a variety of personal reasons, with religion or extremist ideas providing a useful frame for them to articulate their unhappiness through. For some, religion is a solace which helps. To instead push a line which aggressively pushes religion to one side can have a counterproductive effect,” Pantucci adds.