Malek Merabet’s brief address (transcript below) in the French media is a powerful must-read statement for all. It gracefully sums up the challenge against the Islamophobic narrative that self-serving, exploitative vultures have wasted little time descending on France with, aiming to strike while the iron is hot.
Malek is the late Ahmed Merabet’s surviving brother. Ahmed, a Muslim, is of course the first French police officer to the scene of the Charlie Hebdo attack, and was killed by the terrorists. “They may have shared his Algerian roots,” Malek later commented, “but they had nothing else in common. My brother was Muslim and he was killed by two terrorists, by two false Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace and love.”
Here is the full text of Malek’s address translated in English followed by the (emotional) original video – in French.
“Good morning all,
My brother was French, Algerian and of the Muslim religion. He was very proud of the name Ahmed Merabet, proud to represent the French police, and defend the values of the (French) Republic: liberty, equality and fraternity.
Through his determination, he had just received his judicial police diploma and was shortly due to leave for work in the field. His colleagues describe him as a man of action who was passionate about his job.
Ahmed, a committed man, wanted to [sobs] take care of his mother and his relatives following the death of his father 20 years ago. A pillar of the family, his responsibilities did not prevent him from being a caring son, a teasing brother, a generous uncle, and a loving companion.
Devastated by this barbaric act, we associate ourselves with the pain of the families of the victims.
I address myself now to all the racists, Islamophobes, and anti-Semites:
One must not confuse the extremists with Muslims. Madness has neither color nor religion. I want to make another point: don’t paint everybody with the same brush, don’t burn mosques or synagogues. You are attacking people. It won’t bring back our dead, and it won’t appease our families.
As the Guardian rightfully noted:
“Malek reminded France that it faces a battle against extremism, not against its Muslim citizens. 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 harmony.”
France has faced a rising tide in Islamophobia since the attacks.