George Carlin once observed that euphemisms are almost invariably longer than the “offensive” words they are introduced to replace. And eventually even those are replaced by longer terms once the former ones take on too much of an undesirable connotation, and the cycle continues. Granted, this headline is no worse than many others on this subject, but one can’t help wondering: How many syllables might be required in place of “jihadist” by, say, 2015?
“France tries ‘Islamist militant network’,” from Agence France-Presse, October 1:
PARIS (AFP) “” Four young Muslim men went on trial in Paris on Wednesday accused of operating an extremist network that planned attacks in Europe and sent volunteers from France to fight in Iraq.
French authorities allege that the arrests of the four — three Moroccans and a Frenchman of Algerian origin aged between 23 and 38 — allowed officers to thwart several potential terror attacks in Europe and North Africa.
The suspects — the Moroccans Hamid Bach, Yousef Bousag, Reda Barazzouk and French citizen Amine Liassine — were arrested between June 2005 and January 2006 in the southern city of Montpellier.
Investigators believe that Bach travelled to Damascus in Syria with a friend from Montpellier in mid-2004. The friend continued to Iraq to join the then growing insurgency against US and Iraqi forces and was killed in action.
Bach, then aged 34, returned to France on a mission to plan attacks in Europe and North Africa, prosecutors allege.
Police say they seized a large amount of evidence at Bach’s Montpellier address to back up this charge, including documents and chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives.
Bousag and Barazzouk, who were studying electronics and telecommunications at the time of their arrests, are accused of taking part in the planning by building bomb detonators and remote control devices.
Somewhere in there is a terrible pun about “Bach Inventions,” or lack thereof.
Along with Bach, Liassine is regarded as the ideological motor behind the group. The pair are alleged to have confessed to travelling to London to meet members of the radical Islamist underground.
The alleged Montpellier cell was rounded up after a similar operation in Paris led to seven young Muslim men being jailed this year after they were convicted of running a network in the city between 2004 and 2006.
Prosecutors said leads from that case led to the Montpellier suspects.
The four are charged with “membership of a criminal organisation”. The trial is expected to end on October 9.