Taking its starting point from the Charlie Hebdo and November 2015 Paris attacks, this thesis seeks to understand why and how young French citizens with immigrant backgrounds turn to global Islamist extremist terror groups and commit acts of terror in their own country targeting their co-patriots. To address this questions I turn to two specific locations that play a significant role in the lives of immigrant populations who suffer from marginalization, unemployment, and stigmatization in France: the banlieues (suburbs) of large French cities and the prisons.
Banlieues have a high population of minorities, a high rate of unemployment, police brutality and violence from the youth. The second geographical location is in the French prisons- where jihadist radicalization occurs. The living conditions in French prisons are dismal- often dirty, overcrowded, and lacking sufficient medical expertise. The way these prisons are constructed allows for jihadist radicalization of new prisoners to occur frequently. Islamist extremist terror organizations use French prisons as breeding grounds to recruit more members, and new prisoners are vulnerable given their desire for group-inclusion.
The conclusion of my research critically analyzes previous and current counter-terrorism tactics that France has used. My argument here is that unless France changes the way its minorities and immigrants are regarded and treated by authorities and the police, prisons will continue to be overcrowded and radicalization will be inevitable. Unless racial profiling by police is stopped, the banlieues continue to be targeted as spaces of delinquency, and have a negative stigma attached to them.