France: Muslim Residents Fear Backlash after Merah Murders
March 23, 2012, 03:05 AM
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There is certainly widespread relief that Toulouse police have ended the killing spree of Mohamed Merah, who had murdered seven people over the last little while (including three children) for the greater glory of Allah. He was shot dead when trying to escape police who had surrounded his home.

But many Muslims who have left Islamic societies to reside in France can only think of how the monstrous crimes might effect them. The Muslims believe traditional French will generalize blame on all for the action of one jihadist and a backlash against Islamic diversity will result.

Why ever would the French people feel Islamic immigrants are unfriendly to Western culture? Their constant declarations of allegiance to a worldwide caliphate? The firebombing of a magazine critical of Islam? The weekly illegal blockage of Paris streets for prayers to Allah? The ongoing violence, from the paroxysm of property destruction for weeks in 2005 to the rioting over any disagreement with French authorities? The instructions of their holy book to kill non-believers?

Anyway, Muslims in France feel they are misunderstood little lambs, put upon by “islamophobia” when their non-assimilation is pointed out, and then they squawk “Backlash!” when none is on the horizon. They worry about their own skins when serious self-reflection would be more appropriate.

One bit of unintended hilarity occurs near the end of the article below where one interviewee said mass murderer Merah couldn’t have been a “real Muslim” because Islam is so peaceful.

French Muslims fear backlash, The News (Pakistan), March 22, 2012

PARIS: French Muslims said on Wednesday they feared a backlash and increased inter-religious tensions as police besieged a suspected Islamist militant who allegedly 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 stigmatise 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.”