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Report: Toulouse Shooter Muslim Hero in France

Mohamed Merah has become a martyr and hero to angry young Muslims from impoverished areas across France
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/4/2012, 9:29 PM

French Police in Toulouse
French Police in Toulouse
Reuters

Police all over France have reported several serious incidents linked to the case of Islamist mass murderer Mohamed Merah.

Merah killed three French paratroopers and four Jews in a series of shootings in Montauban (Tarn-et-Garonne) and Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) in March.

According to the French newspaper la Parisien, Merha has since become a hero to young Muslims in France and a symbol of violent radicalism.

A Jewish man who owns a nightclub in Dijon (Côte-d'Or) filed a complaint on 24 March after receiving death threats on his Internet mail.

His mysterious caller, claiming al-Qaeda connections and referring to Merah's murders, told him that he should give him a large sum of money if he would stay alive.

The same day, a few hours earlier, in Sarcelles (Val d'Oise), five bullets from a small caliber weapon were fired into the pane of the Yitzhak-Rabin municipal music conservatory. Initial findings indicated the shots were aimed a poster calling for a Republican rally March 25 in front of the city synagogue.

On 23 March, Three young Muslim men aged 16 to 19 claiming to know Merah spay painted slogans saluting Merah just across from the Great Synagogue of Toulouse, the city where Merah murdered three Jewish chidren and a rabbi.

Similar slogans were spray painted near the Otzar Torah school where the murders occurred, and near the apartment house in Izards where Merah was killed by a police sniper as he leapt from a window while firing at onrushing police.

On 22 March, also in the neighborhood of Izards where the killer was from, police were confronted by a crowd of 20 angry young Muslims chanting slogans glorifying Merah's crimes.

One of those in the group, aged 20, threatened the police officers, saying: "My friend Mohamed is a man, a true man... It's too bad he did not have time to finish the job and kill more police, but the work will be finished ... ".

He was arrested before being handed over to the judicial police in charge of the Merah case.

Also on March 22, during a drug trafficking trial in the High Court of Bordeaux (Gironde), a man exclaimed: "There are many Mohamed Merahs. Vive terrorism! Long live Al Qaeda! Long live Mohamed Merah!"

The man, 31, was arrested immediately.

A French correspondent who spoke with Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity said the problem was that Merah did not represent the stereotypical jihadist.

Instead, he was an angry young Muslim man who had grown up in impoverished districts in France that other French Muslims could identify with.

"France as a whole has reacted to the murders in Toulouse and Montauban as a 9/11-like wakeup call," our correspondent said.

But local Islamists, such as the Muslim student group "Les Verts" (The Greens), who want to impose Sharia Law in France, claim Merah was "an agent of Sarkozy and the Mossad."

"This shows the difference between traditional Jihadists and the young muslims Merah inspired," they said. "In the universities he's an Israeli quisling, but in the streets he's a hero – someone to emulate.”