A Muslim engineer has been barred from France’s nuclear sites due to his alleged ties with jihadists, who were recruiting youngsters to fight the US soldier in Iraq, say the officials. His lawyer says this is a case of Islamophobia.
A 29-year old Muslim engineer, whose name hasn’t been revealed, according to French law, was working for EDF (Electricity of France), the world's largest producer of electricity, which produces electricity primarily from nuclear power. He had been granted access to nuclear power sites during 2012-2013.
However, in March 2014, while he was trying to enter the Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear power station in northeastern France, he discovered his pass had been annulled.
According to officials, the worker had “ties with a jihadist group” and was in contact with an imam from the Salafi movement, who was recruiting young people to fight American soldiers in Iraq, as reported by AFP.
In June 2014, the man and his lawyer successfully revoked the ban. However, when the engineer tried to access the nuclear plant’s territory, he found his access had been canceled again - this time by EDF.
On Monday, it transpired that a court in Chalons-en-Champagne had upheld the ban. It said management could prevent those "undergoing a process of political and religious radicalization" from accessing nuclear sites.
The worker’s lawyer says the engineer “is a qualified specialist and had no police records.”
"There is no proof of these supposed links," Sefen Guez Guez, a lawyer from the Organization against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) told AFP.
France has recently introduced tougher jihadist laws amid growing concern that its citizens are fighting alongside Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.
According to official estimates, more than 800,000 French nationals, including several dozen women, have left the country to join radical groups in Syria.
France, whose population numbers 68 million people, has the largest Muslim community (7.5 percent) in the EU. A recent poll showed that up to 15 percent of French people said they have a positive attitude towards the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS]. The share of Islamic State supporters is largest among France’s younger generation, the new poll says.