Sunday, November 27, 2005

Islamic Fundamentalism in French Workplace - Los Angeles Times

Fundamentalism in French Workplace - Los Angeles Times

PARIS — Employees set up clandestine prayer areas on the grounds of the Euro Disney resort.

Workers for a cargo firm at Charles de Gaulle airport praise the Sept. 11 attacks.

A Brinks technician is charged with pulling off a million-dollar heist for a Moroccan terrorist group allegedly led by his brother. Female converts to Islam operate a day-care center that authorities eventually shut down because of its religious radicalism.

As France grapples with the rise of Islamic extremism abroad and at home, the line between legitimate religious expression and extremist subversion can be blurry. But a recent study by a think tank here paints a picture of rising fundamentalism in the workplace, ranging from proselytizing to pressure tactics to criminal activities.

In companies such as supermarket chains in immigrant-heavy areas, for instance, militant recruiters cause workplace tensions by imposing fundamentalist ideas on co-workers and pressuring managers to boycott certain products, the study says.

On a more sinister level, the study asserts that Islamic networks are trying to establish a presence in firms involved in sectors such as security, cargo, armored cars, courier services and transportation. Once they gain a foothold, operatives raise funds for militants via theft, embezzlement and robbery, the study alleges.

“Parallel to these sect-like risks, the spread of criminal practices has been detected in the heart of companies [with] two goals: crime using Islam as a pretext; and in addition, local financing of terrorism,” concludes the study by the Center for Intelligence Research in Paris.

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