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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Paris policeman’s brother: ‘Islam is a religion of love. My brother was killed by terrorists, by false Muslims’

Paris policeman’s brother: ‘Islam is a religion of love.
My brother was killed by terrorists, by false Muslims’

Paris policeman’s brother: ‘Islam is a religion of love.
My brother was killed by terrorists, by false Muslims’

Ahmed Merabet was the first police officer at the scene of the Charlie
Hebdo attack. He was shot dead in cold blood. Now his brother has
appealed for calm

Malek Merabet

Malek Merabet, centre, brother of Ahmed Merabet, the policeman killed in
the Charlie Hebdo attack, speaks at a press conference. Photograph:
Martin Bureau/Getty

Ahmed Merabet, the police officer gunned down in the Charlie Hebdo attack,
was killed in an act of barbarity by “false Muslims” his brother said
in a moving tribute on Saturday, where he also appealed for unity and

Speaking for a group of relatives gathered in Paris,
Malek Merabet said the terrorists who ignored his brother’s plea for
mercy as he lay wounded on the street may have shared his Algerian
roots, but had nothing else in common.

“My brother was Muslim and he was killed by two terrorists, by two
false Muslims,” he said. “Islam is a religion of peace and love. As far
as my brother’s death is concerned it was a waste. He was very proud of
the name Ahmed Merabet, proud to represent the police and of defending
the values of the Republic – liberty, equality, fraternity.”

Malek reminded France that the country faced a battle against extremism, not against its Muslim citizens.

“I address myself now to all the racists, Islamophobes and
antisemites. One must not confuse extremists with Muslims. Mad people
have neither colour or religion,” he said.

“I want to make another point: don’t tar everybody with the same
brush, don’t burn mosques – or synagogues. You are attacking people. It
won’t bring our dead back and it won’t appease the families.”

His brief speech was a moving tribute to the slain officer, loved as a
son, brother, companion and uncle, but also a powerful call for

There has been a rising tide of Islamophobia in France following the Paris killings, including a grenade attack on one mosque, an explosion in a kebab shop beside a mosque and gunfire at a Muslim family in a car, although there have been no casualties.

Merabet’s death was captured in a graphic video, as he was wounded by
one of the two attackers and then shot in the head in cold blood. He is
shot in the groin, then falls to the pavement groaning in pain and
holding up an arm as though to protect himself.

The second gunman moves forward and asks the policeman: “Do you want
to kill us?” Merabet replies: “No, it’s OK mate,” but the terrorist then
shoots him in the head.

The images were widely shared online and one was published on the front page of a national newspaper.

Malek berated media outlets and websites that showed the graphic
content, which he said was extremely painful for the family. “How dare
you take this video and broadcast it? I heard his voice, I recognised
him, I saw him being killed and I continue to hear him every day.”

Merabet’s partner, Morgane Ahmad, who said she had watched footage of
the shooting without realising it was him, also appealed for calm.

“What the family and I want is for everyone to be united, we want
everyone to be able to demonstrate in peace, we want to show respect for
all the victims and that the demonstration should be peaceful,” she

Ahmed had been a pillar of the family since his father died 20 years
earlier, Malek said. The 42-year-old grew up in Livry-Gargan, in the
north-eastern suburbs of Paris, and graduated from the local lycée in
1995. He ran a cleaning company before joining the police force eight
years ago, and worked hard for a promotion.

“Through his determination, he had just got his judicial police
officer [detective] diploma and was shortly due to leave fieldwork. His
colleagues describe him as a man of action who was passionate about his
job,” Malek said.

Merabet was called to the scene of the attack while on a bicycle
patrol and arrived just as the killers were making their escape. They
stopped to add him to the long list of victims.

“He was on foot, and came nose to nose with the terrorists. He pulled
out his weapon. It was his job, it was his duty,” said Rocco Contento, a
colleague who was a union representative at the central police station
for Paris’s 11th arrondissement, where Merabet was based. He described
him as a quiet and conscientious officer who was always smiling and
widely liked.

As news spread that the gunned down policeman was a Muslim, the
hashtag #JeSuisAhmed began spreading on Twitter in solidarity. One user,
identified as @Aboujahjah, said: “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead
cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his
right to do so.”

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