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A woman wearing a niqab in France
A woman wearing a niqab in France
Matthieu Suc

PARIS — What first attracted Linda B. to her partner was his bad-boy side. He was, like her, from the French West Indies and was serving a prison sentence for repeated robberies and jailbreaks. When he converted to Islam while in prison, she started doing some research and bought "books to learn about and understand Islam, for beginners," she recalls. "I barely managed to learn anything," she admits. "I didn't learn a single sura of the Koran. I converted because of love. Had he believed in another religion, I would have probably converted to that too."

Prison is a melting pot for indoctrination but also for meeting people. Between two downloads of jihadist propaganda films, a certain "long-sentence" inmate is making advances to "Flower of Islam" on IndexNikâh, "a Muslim matrimonial service open to our brothers and sisters in Islam who are ready for marriage," the halal dating website explains. "I explained that I was currently imprisoned and looking for a wife," the inmate would later explain after it was discovered he could go online with complete impunity.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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