Brother of Toulouse attacker on trek against radicalism

2017-03-17 22:13
Abdelghani Merah smiles as he walks near Sezanne, 100km east of Paris. (Nicolas Garriga, AP)

Abdelghani Merah smiles as he walks near Sezanne, 100km east of Paris. (Nicolas Garriga, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Reims - Five years after his brother killed seven people in the name of Islam, Abdelghani Merah is walking across France to preach tolerance and warn against the dangers of religious radicalism.

Mohamed Merah killed three soldiers in southern France in March 2012. He then turned his anger on the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, where he killed a rabbi and his two sons, aged 4 and 5, and an 8-year-old girl.

Abdelghani has denounced the attacks and the radicalisation of Mohamed and another brother, Abdelkader. Mohamed was killed in a police shootout and Abdelkader faces trial.

Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan before returning home. He was 23 when he attacked paratroopers and a Jewish school, claiming links to al-Qaeda.

Abdelghani told The Associated Press on Friday that "before becoming a monster, Mohamed Merah was a child like all the others, happy, he wanted to live. People are not born terrorists, they become terrorists".

His brother "became a terrorist via the people who manipulated him, who used him for their propaganda and who have dehumanised him. He had been brainwashed," he said. "They simply stole his heart and his brain."

Abdelghani left Marseille on February 8 for his walk across France and hopes to meet the justice minister on Sunday in Paris to encourage stronger de-radicalisation measures.

He says he knows that some people in France are offended by his trek.

"I know that the name 'Merah' is hated. I can understand that. I won't change it," he explained, adding that he does not want al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group to use his brother's name for their propaganda. "I want this name, for once, to raise awareness."

Islamic extremists have killed 235 people in France since January 2015.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  isis  |  france

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.