As it is now widely known, on March 19 at eight a.m., a man entered the Jewish school Hatora Ozar, in Toulouse, France. He killed a rabbi and his two children, then an eight years old little girl, by shooting her three times in the head after dragging her by the hair to place her in front of the camera he was carrying. These were the worst anti-Semitic acts committed on French soil for decades.
A mobilization across the country and a general mobilization against anti-Semitism was to be expected. The mobilization started quickly.
It was soon revealed that the killer who had just shot four Jews was the man who had murdered three French soldiers, including two Muslims, the week prior. All the commentators ferociously incriminated the « far right ». Anti-racist associations issued statements denouncing « fascist barbarity raising its ugly head again ».
Then it emerged that the man was a French Muslim who had traveled to the mountains of Afghanistan in order to train for jihad. The police found him, and eliminated him after a rough gunfight.
Mobilization ceased as rapidly as it had begun. Commentators no longer spoke of anti-Semitism. Anti-racist associations became silent. All attention focused on the killer, Mohamed Merah. He was presented as a « nice young man » by his neighbors, then as a « petty criminal » who inexplicably drifted, and finally as a « lone wolf » without any connection with terrorist movements.
It was gradually revealed that his older brother, Abdelkader, now in prison, had links with Islamists in Belgium and the United Kingdom, and organized networks helping young French Muslims join jihadi organizations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It appeared that the killer, Mohamed Merah had been imprisoned in Afghanistan for planting bombs in Kandahar, and had been placed on the list of dangerous people to be monitored very closely by the security services of the United States.
It also appeared that he was under the supervision of the French Department of the Interior: which did not prevent him from obtaining an impressive arsenal, and killing several times without arousing immediate suspicions. As commentators and so many other people, the police initially followed the trail of the « extreme right ».
More information will emerge. The French mainstream media will reveal it, with obvious reluctance. Every time journalists speak or write about the case, they constantly point out that Mohamed Merah is « not really a Muslim », and that no one should forget that Islam is a « religion of peace ».
Anti-racist associations have broken their silence and call for vigilance against « racism » in general, and against the risk of « divisions ».
Nicolas Sarkozy has promised sanctions against French youth who go train in jihadi camps and those who visit websites praising jihad. Consequently, he was immediately described by almost all other political leaders as a dangerous man.
The worst anti-Semitic crime committed on French soil for decades is no longer described as an anti-Semitic crime by anyone, except Jews, and even Jews choose their words carefully. The assassin has justified his act by invoking the « suffering of Gaza's children », and that suffering is described by a growing number of journalists as a mitigating circumstance. When Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France) wanted to say during a newscast that media would have to cease showing distorted images inciting hatred of Israel, the anchor immediately stopped him, saying, « this is a moment of meditation, not controversy ».
The fact that the murderer is a young French Muslim who turned to radical Islam and killed Jewish children only because they were Jewish is no longer evoked. The risk mentioned constantly on television, in newspapers, and in most political discourse is that fear could push people to « stigmatize Muslims », who run « the risk of being discriminated ». « The killer has nothing to do with the teachings of Islam », said Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris.
Almost nobody dares to say that dozens of young French Muslims go every year in jihadi training camps and follow exactly the same course as Mohamed Merah. How many of them are likely to act at one time or another?
Almost nobody dare to say that more than thirty mosques all over the country broadcast hateful remarks that, according to Boubakeur, have « nothing to do with the teachings of Islam », and that the same remarks are received daily by tens of thousands of Muslims in France through Al Djazeera. How many of them have the same ideas as Mohamed Merah and share his hatred of Jews and the West ?
Two thousand Jews leave France each year to settle in Israel, sometimes in Canada or the United States.
According to the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA) nearly four hundred physical attacks against Jews occurred in France in 2011. More than one a day. And Sammy Ghozlan, President of BNVCA, states that the number of attacks that have not been the subject of legal complaints is much higher.
All the attacks recorded by BNVCA were committed by Muslims. None was due to a member of a far-right movement. French laws forbid to publicly declare who exactly assaults Jews on French soil : those who do it risks prosecution and heavy fines.
In 2004, a report was commissioned by the government on « the Signs and Manifestations of Religious Affiliation in Educational Establishments »: the report (called the Obin report) showed a deep infiltration of radical Islam and hatred of the Jews in the vast majority of French schools. What it described was so alarming that the text was not initially disclosed. Since nothing was done to fight against what the report showed, one can easily deduce that eight years later, the situation has not improved. Jewish families withdraw their children from public schools to place them in Jewish private schools, where they become potential targets of Islamic extremists.
Jews in France equal five hundred thousand, and that number is decreasing. Muslims total more than six million, and for the most part, they are French citizens who exercise their voting rights.
Several radical Islamist organizations openly advocate jihad on French territory without interference. One of them, Forsane Alizza (Pride Riders), was banned by the French government at the end of February because it had started to form fighters on French soil. Officially, the organization disappeared, but its members are still active. Eighteen of them were arrested on March 30th. Most of them will probably be released.
From April 6th to 9th, the Congress of the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (UOIF) will take place in the city of Le Bourget, near Paris. Over one hundred thousand participants are expected. Six anti-Semitic Islamic preachers who were invited to speak were denied entry into France. Other anti-Semitic Islamic preachers will speak anyway : they are French. They cannot be expelled. They will not be condemned. The French government knows that if he condemned them, he might be confronted with riots in many suburbs. Every year, openly anti-Semitic books are on sale at the Congress of the UOIF, among them the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It will be the same this year.
The question is not whether there will be another anti-Semitic murder in France, but rather: when will it happen again.
Jihad in France is just beginning.