A Center for the deradicalization of Muslim extremists set up in Central France last September is empty. The last man to be “treated” at the chateau of Pontourny, in Beaumont-en-Véron, left on February 8. Although France has listed thousands as “radicalized” in the police data banks, there were never more than six or seven at any given time and only nine people ever volunteered for the center which can house up to 30.
“Are there no volunteers for deradicalization?” asked right wing parliamentarian Eric Ciotti in a tweet. “In that case don’t ask them if they want to.”
The criteria were that the volunteer cannot have been condemned for violence.
The young man who left on Tuesday after two months at the center was sentenced to four months for “apology of terrorism” and violence; one of many errors the French press reports. Another error was the sending in January of a man from Strasbourg who was arrested for being a member of a Jihadist network.
Employees said the Center did not help its last pensioner who saw the program as “anti-Islam proselytism which just seemed to radicalize him even more.” They said his rejection of France only grew. The young man asked to leave the center.
A government committee is going to examine the Pontourny Center this Friday and decide what should be done with a project which has not lived up to expectations. A collective of residents in the town are demanding the center be shut down and will demonstrate on Saturday, February 11. They complain that they have not been properly informed and that some of the pensioners were diagnosed as mentally ill and that it is a waste of money with 30 employees for for two or three being lodged there.
Even the mayor of Beaumont-en-Véron is furious. “We were always told it would not be a center for deradicalization but one to aid youth to not become radicalized,” Bernard Château told La Nouvelle République newspaper “All the nuance is there.”
But Interior Minister, BrunoLe Roux has ruled out shutting down the Center although he admits “the first results show that we have more work to do.”