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Boston College Expert: Terrorist Attacks in France

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Jonathan Laurence

Jonathan Laurence
Associate Professor of Political Science
cell: 617-230-0387
Faculty website

Laurence is nonresident senior fellow in Foreign Policy studies at the Brookings Institution. His research interests are transatlantic relations and Islam in Europe, Turkey and North Africa. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France and  The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims: The State’s Role in Minority Integration. Prof. Laurence’s research has been featured in the Washington Post and on National Public Radio, and his articles have been published by European Political Science, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Crisis Group, Le Monde, The New York Times, Perspectives on Politics, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel  and other US and European periodicals and think tanks.



“What’s new about this is the attacks in January targeted journalists who represented a small percentage of French society; tonight’s attacks are clearly on the general public and send a message, if one was necessary, that this is an all-out war on French society and not just on some blasphemers or French Jews. Targeting nightlife obviously sends a certain message as well.

“France has clearly been on the forefront of the war against the Islamic state and this is some kind of reprisal.

“The simultaneity of it all certainly suggests terrorism. There’s something coordinated about it. It’s not just a mass shooting. It’s simultaneous attacks going on in different places.

“In the last ten months the French have devoted more and more resources to figuring out who among the civilians are in danger of leaving for Syria, who among them is already there, who might be trying to return. They’re been trying hard to get ahead of this obviously very difficult phenomenon while at the same time trying not to make it worse. 

“The French have really begun to take this seriously, both in the prisons and in the general social work institutions.”


Media Note:

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Sean Hennessey
Associate Director
Office of News and Public Affairs
Boston College

(617) 552-3630 (office)
(617) 943-4323 (cell)