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French Muslims fear backlash after 'Islamist' shootings

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Al-Arabiya

By AFP

PARIS

French Muslims said Wednesday they feared a backlash and increased inter-religious tensions as police besieged a suspected Islamist militant who killed seven people including three Jewish children.

Police were trying to negotiate the surrender of Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent suspected of killing three soldiers last week and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school on Monday.

Officials say he has visited Afghanistan and Pakistan, bragged of being an al-Qaeda member and claimed to have acted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children.

On the streets of Paris and its suburbs, French Muslims denounced his attacks and said they hoped his acts would not spur anti-Islamic feelings in France.

"Killing young Jews to avenge young Palestinians causes nothing but revulsion," said Abdelhak Eddouk, a Muslim leader in the Paris suburban region of Essonne.

"This type of person hurts everyone," he said, adding that he feared that "in an election period, some will take advantage of this to stigmatize Islam as a religion and Muslims as citizens."

Ezdine Ould Mohamed, the head of a local Muslim cultural association in Essonne, urged politicians to "ask the right questions and act responsibly" after the attacks.

Immigration has been a top theme in the campaign for France's April-May presidential election, with right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy declaring this month that there were "too many foreigners" in France.

Sarkozy allies and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen have also lashed out against the widespread production of Islamic halal meat.

In Paris's working-class neighbourhood of Belleville, home to a large North African community, butcher Lassaad Fkiri said he feared the shootings would add fuel to the rhetoric.

"I think politicians will fan the flames, after the halal debate, and some will use these dramatic events to point the finger at Muslims," the 39-year-old said.

Outside a mosque in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, 31-year-old Mema Camara said she hoped most in France would not link the killer with all Muslims.

"He would not have done this if he were a real Muslim. God forbids us from fighting. I really hope there will be no confusion between this madman and the entire community," she said.

Nearby, 51-year-old Nasreddine Hanifa said he believed the killer had been "recruited by extremists" and most likely "brainwashed," but that he needed "to be punished for these horrible crimes."

The imam of the mosque in Bondy, Mohammed Meniri, said he was particularly shocked by the details that have emerged of how the killer chased down and shot one his victims, seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego, at the Jewish school.

"To have taken a child by the hair and shot her in the head -- he must not be sane," Meniri said. "He dirties Islam instead of honoring it."

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Ryad Ally said:

I do not advocate conspiracy theory by default but the first thing that came to my mind when I heard that the alleged killer was a Muslim youth of a poor French suburb, who was more of a delinquent than a hard-core Al-Qaida Jihadist was: WHY NOW DURING AN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN? A campaign which was, not surprisingly, Islamophobic from the start with the debate focusing on Halal meat, instead of discussing France financial & economic meltdown for instance.
The anti-Muslim French president was not doing good in the polls. Now Mohammed Meerah has not only provided Sarkozy with a much needed lifeline, he has also put the Muslims on the back foot, and now Muslims will really feel under siege. Quite naturally, he is being vilified by all & sundry: Sarkozy even said Meerah is a monster but I wonder how he might be different from a French Jew who did his military service in the Zionist army & who killed Muslim in Occupied Palestine, or a member of the French Jewish Defense League defending illegal Zionist settlements in Occupied Palestine. We will never hear Meerah own words just as we manage to hear Anders Breivik the perpetrator of the killings in Norway back in 2011. Or perhaps I'm wrong and a recording will surface pretty much soon.
Anyway I do agree with Abshabs when he quoted Surah Al Imran "And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah"[TMQ 3:54]
Finally I'll conclude with the following Ayah from Surah At-Taubah:
"They (the disbelievers) want to extinguish Allah's light (Islam) with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His light should be perfected even though the Kafirun may hate it." [TMQ 9:32]
 
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March 23, 2012
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abshabs said:

could this guy have been sposored by those who want to do bad to muslims? Anyway, what people think bad for muslims may become good for muslims in the long run. They plan and Allah sw plans and indeed Allah sw is the best of planners.
 
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March 22, 2012
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