Between March 11 and 19, 2012, France saw the murders of seven people in the Toulouse/Montauban region. The later part of these massacres included a rabbi, two of his children and one more young girl, all at an all-Jewish school in Toulouse. Within three days, the perpetrator had been identified as 23 year-old Mohamed Merah with ties to Al-Qaeda. Early in the morning of March 22nd, Mohamed Merah burst out his bathroom shooting his weapon all across the room at police officers as he jumped out of the window to his death.
The French government, possibly motivated by the nearness of a presidential election, was rather responsive. In fact, French President Sarkozy immediately gave a statement praising the police and French government and presenting his condolences to the families of the victims. He closed his statement by saying:” Our Muslim compatriots have nothing to do with the crazy motivations of a terrorist”.
Mr. Sarkozy is currently walking on the very thin ice of an election year in the European country with the largest Muslim population (between 5-6 million). As much as he might want to tighten the grip on Islam and its blatant refusal to integrate the French Republic and communities, he must use extreme caution so as to not polarize a potential voting block. Simply stated, Mr. Sarkozy is between a rock called INTEGRITY and a hard place called COMPROMISE, so the safest move is to avoid confrontation and speak against unjustified discrimination of Muslims. In the meantime, Mohamed Merah is slowly becoming a victim, possibly a martyr and even worse yet, a hero!
Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, gives us a different perspective about Merah that I unfortunately agree with. I say unfortunately because it simply posits that “justice was not served”. In the case of Merah, instead of sending a rightfully sobering message to radical Muslims about France’s zero tolerance of such acts, it allows for the perpetrator to be praised, elevated and even–at least in people’s minds–exonerated. As a result, his actions have not become a red flag for the lethal components of radical Islam but an encouragement to follow Merah’s model. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the aftermath of Merah’s blood bath:
- March 23rd: One day after the death of Merah, a teacher in Rouen, Normandy told her 12th grade class that Merah was a victim and that his link to Al-Qaeda was invented by the media and Sarkozy. The teacher was immediately suspended, yet damage was done!
- March 26th: Five days after the massacre, a Jewish boy was beaten outside another Ozar HaTorah Jewish school in Paris.
- March 30th: Four days later, Actor/Comedian Jamel Debouze from arab descent finds justification for Merah’s actions in the difficult upbringing that his co-religionists have experienced in the Paris suburbs, while not a word is said by Debouze about the Jewish victims.
- March 31st: Merah’s brother, Rachid Merah is quoted telling the press: “You reap what you sow. They kill our children in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, they should recognize their responsibility. The minister of the interior has said that Mohamed was a monster…but I reply that they have created this monster that killed children.” The French government is then held responsible by Merah’s brother.
- April 2nd: Only 11 days after the carnage and a man in Marseille is hit in the face as he exits a synagogue. Antisemitic slurs are yelled at him by his assailant.
- April 4th: Two days later in Marseille, an 85 year old man is attacked by a North African man. He is pushed around and the perpetrator rips his Jewish star medallion from his chest after putting a knife to his throat.
- April 5th: A 35 year old man wearing a yarmulke is shot in the leg as he was walking on the street in Villeurbanne.
- April 11th: Only 20 days have passed and in front of a synagogue in Garges les Gonesses, in the Paris suburb, an individual from the same origins as Merah screamed at Jewish worshipers:”Dirty Jews, I’ll kill you all you dirty race”. He then proceeded across the street towards a group of 3-year olds before being stopped and fleeing the scene. And on, and on and on!
I could continue adding to this tragic list of antisemitic acts in France and actually add to them those acts committed all over Europe. But France is the “litmus test” by which the new antisemitism is being defined. The apparently “unspeakable” actions of Mohamed Merah are already not being spoken of anymore, at least not as symptomatic of a deeply rooted problem of antisemitism. The Jew hatred displayed by Mohamed Merah has been brushed under the rug of political correctness, just in time for the elections at the end of April.