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UK counter-radicalization unit targets French Muslims as part of its propaganda campaign

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A British government organization known for producing strategic communication to fight against extremist propaganda in the UK, is targeting French Muslims.

Quoting documents related to the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye revealed that the body in question has «awarded a contract to a consortium of communications companies» to operate in France.

The objectives set by these communications companies is to «influence Muslim public opinion in France as part of a covert counter-extremism program» and help the French authorities create similar units.

The same agency has already conducted similar actions in several countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

According to Middle East Eye, the British unit, operating on behalf of the UK’s Home Office, had reportedly worked before on shaping the thinking of young people in Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon through rap music and graffiti.  

The same source revealed that RICU teamed up with European Union-funded projects to conduct its campaigns, targeting young people in North Africa. Reportedly, the EU funded RICU’s work in Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon «through a counter-extremism program called ‘Strengthening Resilience’», the same source concluded.

However, RICU’s plans in France were slammed by several activists working in Muslim communities in the European country. Most of them were «surprised to learn of British government plans for counter-radicalization campaigns in France», the same source pointed out, adding that these actions would «further alienate communities already subjected to scrutiny and suspicion».

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