Earlier this month, Abdelkader Merah was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a French court. He was found guilty of criminal terrorist conspiracy. Abdelkader had had much influence on his murderous brother, Mohammed Merah. Analyzing the background of the Merah family provides major insights into the problems of uncontrolled immigration of Muslims into Europe as well as other issues that go far beyond the crimes of the Merah brothers.
First the facts. In March 2012, Mohammed Merah, a French-born Muslim of Algerian parents, killed a Jewish teacher and three children in front of the Jewish school Otzar HaTorah in Toulouse. Several days earlier he had murdered three French soldiers. A few days after the murders at the school, Merah was killed in a shootout with French police. It was found that he had been a visitor to an al-Qaida stronghold in Pakistan.
Mohammed Merah claimed that he was motivated to murder Jews out of solidarity with Palestinian children. Thereafter then Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad distanced himself from Merah. He stated that Palestinian children should not be used to legitimize terrorism. Fayyad failed to mention that the Palestinians routinely glorify their own terrorist murderers of Israeli civilians in many ways.
According to the French daily Le Monde, the father of the Merahs said that to defend the Palestinians he was willing to become a suicide bomber. Souad Merah, the eldest sister of Mohammed, was quoted as saying that she wanted to turn into a suicide bomber together with her children, “It is not innocents which one is killing, but unbelievers.” Upon learning about the murders Mohammed committed, Merah’s mother Zoulikha said, “My son has brought France to its knees.” The current whereabouts of Souad Merah are unknown.
Later in 2012, Mohammed’s brother Abdelghani published a book, My Brother the Terrorist. He wrote that their parents had educated them to be fanatic antisemites. In one incident described in the book, Abdelkader knifed Abdelghani and was given a jail sentence.
Had the French authorities verified the background and attitudes of incoming immigrants, the parents of the Merahs would never have gained entry into the country. Why would democratic France with its dark Vichy past allow more extreme antisemites to settle there?
A study by the American Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that the percentages of antisemites in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco are 87%, 86%, and 80% respectively. With such huge numbers one can understand how the massive, uncontrolled immigration from Muslim countries has become the most negative event for Western European Jewry in the past 50 years.
Mohammed Merah’s murders created a bandwagon of crime. According to the Jewish defense organization Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (SPCJ), France saw an increase of 58% in antisemitic incidents in 2012 as compared to 2011. Its report stated: “2012 has been a year of unprecedented violence against Jews in France.”
Among the most intelligent apologists of Mohammed Merah at the time was Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford and grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was recently placed on leave by the university after two women accused him of rape. It is worthwhile to analyze Ramadan’s technique of whitewashing the murderer. He started with falsifying Mohammed Merah’s worldview. Ramadan wrote that “Merah was a misguided youngster in whose thought there were no values of Islam or racist and [antisemitic] ideas.”
The next step was to turn Merah into a victim. In Ramadan’s words, Merah was “a poor guy, guilty and to be condemned undoubtedly, even if he himself was a victim of a social order which had already condemned him and millions of others to a marginality and a non-recognition of his statute of citizen with equal rights and chances.”
Ramadan thus transformed Merah into a non-racist, non-antisemitic victim of society whose ideas had nothing to do with any Muslim ideology.
The since deceased French Jewish philosopher André Glucksmann attacked Ramadan’s whitewashing. He wrote that one could now say, “The executioner was a victim and the victims are executioners.” Glucksmann also referred to Muslim fundamentalist mass murderers with a much better education when he wrote that those who had slaughtered many in Algeria from 1992 to 1997 were high school graduates.
In some circles Merah also became a hero. One teacher in Rouen was suspended after asking her class to observe a minute of silence for Merah. Her trade union then turned her into a victim, saying that she had “psychological problems.” A Facebook page glorifying the murderer was taken down at the request of the French authorities.
Mohammed Merah has since been followed by other Muslim terrorist murderers in France. In 2015 some focused on Jews, such as in the Hypercacher murders, while others attacked specific French targets such as the journalists of Charlie Hebdo. Yet others attacked random French targets such as in the November 2015 murders in Paris and the 2016 murders in Nice. Initially it seemed that the French governments had disproportionately failed France’s Jews with its negligent immigration policies. In the past few years, however, it has become clear that it has failed all its citizens.
Manfred Gerstenfeld writes for the Jerusalem Post.