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French PM has got it wrong on terrorism, researchers say

France’s leading researchers on terrorism have hit back at prime minister Manuel Valls’ repeated assertion that sociological explanations of terrorism are effectively excuses for it.

Speaking at an event on the anniversary of the terrorist attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris on 9 January 2015, Valls said that there could be “no worthwhile explanation” for the terrorists’ actions “as to explain is to want to excuse somewhat”.

This remark followed comments to the Senate and to the National Assembly in late November, in which he criticised those looking to understand the origins of terrorist acts. “I’m tired of people constantly looking for excuses and cultural or sociological explanations as to why [the November terror attacks in Paris] happened,” he said.

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