The scramble for Africa was very swift. It was an opportunity Europeans made good use of it, but with iron fist, after discovering Africa’s wealth, in the least advanced continent. Even though malaria killed hundreds of Europeans, by 1862, they had reached the source of the Nile, then little later, they traced the route of the Niger and confirmed the reality of Africa’s rich mineral resources- ivory, gold, diamonds, tin, copper, rubber etc.
Between the 1870’s and 1900, Africa experienced European imperialist invasion, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization. Among other European countries, France had Republic of Benin, Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Chad, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal and Republic of Togo in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa, then Djibouti, Lebanon and Syria.
Since most of the countries colonized by France were Islamic countries, Islam became the second largest professed religion in France, following Catholic-Christians, with an estimated total of 5 to 10 percent of the national population. France stands as the largest Muslim country in Western Europe. Do we have to ask: Would France be free from terrorism without colonizing many Islamic countries?
As the story unfolds, France ruled heavy Islamic dominant countries, including Republic of Guinea, until Guinea attained its independence in 1958. Like Belgium, that couldn’t stand the pain of losing Congo and embarked on ruthless destruction of Congo, both physically and medically, France aimed to destroy Guinea as well. They emptied all the coffers of the bank and took everything from the state house, including the furniture to France. The newly elected Prime Minister Ahmed Sekou Touré inherited a very bad economy and complete looted country.
France still interested in Africa, established its embassies in every country they colonized and continued interfering with African politics. The reason whenever there is coup in any of the countries France colonized, they quickly send the military to arrest the situation. France seen as paradise, nationals from countries they colonized in Africa, had the opportunity to travel to France to study, request for political asylum and to work as immigrants.
Apart from migration, a lot of Muslims were born in France, amounting to 15 percent of the total population, creating Muslim communities through out France. The country therefore has a long and complicated relationship with the Muslim world and its own immigrant population, many of whom have been in the country for generations.
Due to the heavy concentration of Muslims in France, the country is therefore an easy target for terrorists. In the beginning of this year, gunmen shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in an apparent militant Islamist attack. That’s where France should have been careful to avoid the present attacks that have killed at least 129 people.
Under President Francois Hollande, France launched its first airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria in September, but external attacks against terrorists, can’t weaken the foundation of terrorism threatening France, because the enemies-terrorists are within the people in the country. The France government should first fight against terrorism at home, to weaken its foundation, before concentrating on external issues.