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January 14, 2015 1

A French Jew Mourns a French Muslim Policeman

A guest blog by Eve Gani, Direc­tor of Inter­na­tional Affairs, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil of French Jew­ish Insti­tu­tions (CRIF), ADL’s part­ner in France.

On Jan­u­ary 11, mil­lions of French cit­i­zens demon­strated in a his­toric moment of unity in defense of our demo­c­ra­tic free­doms.  On Jan­u­ary 13, we exer­cised one of those free­doms – free­dom of reli­gion – to bury 17 ter­ror vic­tims accord­ing to their respec­tive fam­i­lies’ reli­gious tra­di­tions, or absence of reli­gious tra­di­tion: Catholic, Jew­ish, Mus­lim, atheist.

My col­leagues at CRIF attended the Jew­ish funeral in Jerusalem and sec­u­lar funer­als in Paris.  I chose to attend the funeral of Ahmed Mer­abet, the Mus­lim police­man killed out­side the Char­lie Hebdo office.

I went with a Mus­lim friend, also a police­man.  I had met this friend a few months ago at a gala din­ner to sup­port the work of Lat­ifa Ibn Ziaten, the mother of a Mus­lim sol­dier killed by Mohammed Merah, the ter­ror­ist who also mur­dered three chil­dren and a rabbi at a Jew­ish school in Toulouse. We came from two very dif­fer­ent parts of French soci­ety, but both wanted to sup­port Lat­ifa Ibn Ziaten’s work with at-risk youth.

Imme­di­ately after the Char­lie Hebdo attack, my friend called to alert me and urge us to be care­ful.  As he told me about the attack, his voice con­veyed how ner­vous he was.  A police­man had been shot dead in the street, and he wor­ried about his children’s future should the same hap­pen to him. Recall­ing that con­ver­sa­tion and the fact that a police­woman had also been shot in the interim, I knew I wanted to go with him to Ahmed Merabat’s funeral.

Funeral Procession of Ahmed Merabat

Funeral Pro­ces­sion of Ahmed Merabat

It was the first Mus­lim bur­ial I had ever attended. Dur­ing the prayers, I thought of the Mus­lim friends I have had through years, start­ing in high school. Some of them, like my Jew­ish friends, had left France. For Tunisia, Lon­don and Bal­ti­more. They all wanted to build a bet­ter life, one safe from vio­lence and all forms of hatred and bigotry.

At the bur­ial, I saw Mus­lim col­leagues of Ahmed proudly wear­ing their French Police uni­forms, lay lead­ers from Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties, a priest, and a rabbi.  The prayer leader thanked the Jews for attend­ing and urged every­one to demon­strate their sol­i­dar­ity with the Jew­ish vic­tims at an event in front of the kosher super­mar­ket that was attacked.

Rec­tor Dalil Boubakeur and oth­ers from the Grand Mosque of Paris were at the funeral, and we recalled a dif­fer­ent meet­ing, not unre­lated to the Char­lie Hebdo ter­ror attack.  Three years ago, CRIF and the Grand Mosque of Paris had orga­nized an inter­faith dis­cus­sion on the topic of blas­phemy and the laws of the Repub­lic.  We under­scored our com­mon reli­gious val­ues and our com­mon com­mit­ment to the rule of law, all of which the jihadists oppose.

Trag­i­cally, Char­lie Hebdo was tar­geted because a jihadist inter­pre­ta­tion of reli­gion, incom­pat­i­ble with ours. And Ahmed, whose job was to enforce the law of the Repub­lic, was killed on the way.

I watched as Ahmed’s cof­fin was borne by my friend.  My friend who fears to be next.

To my friend,

A French Mus­lim policeman,

May your chil­dren grow up in peace, with their father, in a France, respect­ful of and safe for all.


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January 13, 2015 1

Israelis Gather to Bury Victims of Terror in France, Killed Because They Were Jews

(ADL Israel Staff attended the funer­als of the four French Jews ear­lier today in Jerusalem. Below is a per­sonal account from Phyl­lis Ger­ably and Car­ole Nuriel of ADL’s Israel Office)

Today, mak­ing the way to the Har HaMenu­chot (Mount of the Rest­ing) ceme­tery, there were flags and signs put up by the Jerusalem Munic­i­pal­ity embrac­ing the French. The Israel National Police and secu­rity were in place in prepa­ra­tion of the expected large crowds, and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu, Pres­i­dent Reuven Rivlin, Oppo­si­tion head Isaac Her­zog, rab­bis, min­is­ters, ambas­sadors and the French Min­is­ter of Envi­ron­ment Ségolène Royal, rep­re­sent­ing the French government.

An impres­sive crowd of thou­sands came out on a cold sunny day to pay final respects to four peo­ple they never met, who were trag­i­cally killed sim­ply because they were Jew­ish. The crowd brought together, in a feel­ing of com­mon des­tiny, fam­ily, friends, mem­bers of the French com­mu­nity in Israel and native Israelis. At the entrance to the ceme­tery a small crowd of French Jews held signs say­ing, “I am Char­lie; I am a Jew; I am an Israeli; I am French; We’ve had Enough.”  ADL Condolence France

In his mov­ing eulogy for the four vic­tims, Pres­i­dent Rivlin put it elo­quently: “This is not how we wanted to wel­come you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its cap­i­tal. We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.”

Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu spoke about Israel being the safe haven for the Jew­ish peo­ple, and that the threat against the Jew­ish peo­ple is, in fact, a threat against all of human­ity. Oppo­si­tion Head Yitzhak Her­zog spoke of his great-grandfather who was the rabbi of Paris one hun­dred years ago, and rec­og­nized the roots and strength of the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in France.

The vic­tims’ fam­i­lies each spoke about their loved ones and how they yearned to be in Israel. Their dig­nity and love for Israel was very mov­ing. Look­ing out at the crowd of mourn­ers — Ashke­nazi and Sephardic Jews joined in sor­row by this hor­rific act — was a quiet reminder to all of us that we are respon­si­ble for one another, no mat­ter where we are.

French Min­is­ter of Envi­ron­men­tRoyal spoke about threats to Jews being a threat to all the French peo­ple, and that France with­out its Jew­ish com­mu­nity just isn’t France.  Min­is­ter Royal also said that com­bat­ing anti-Semitism and racism is going to be the num­ber one pri­or­ity for France in 2015. When she announced that the four mur­dered Jews were going to receive the French Legion of Hon­our medal, a few in the crowd broke out in applause.

It was very hard to avoid the feel­ing that this mes­sage was too lit­tle, too late.

The funeral ended with the singing of Israel’s national anthem, HaTikva, of which the words “We did not lose our hope” (“Od lo avda Tik­vateinu”) had, this time, the addi­tional mean­ing that while a tragic event had occurred, Israelis have hope for a bet­ter future for all.


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January 13, 2015 0

New ISIS Threat Campaign Capitalizes on Paris Attacks

Image from Twitter campaign

Image from Twit­ter campaign

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched a new cam­paign on Twit­ter call­ing for addi­tional home­grown attacks in West­ern coun­tries in the after­math of the attacks in Paris last week that killed 17.

The cam­paign, adver­tised with the hash­tag #Fight­forHim was espe­cially promi­nent on Twit­ter on Sun­day, when both offi­cial ISIS accounts and mul­ti­ple sup­porter accounts Tweeted images fea­tur­ing mes­sages to Mus­lims “liv­ing in the West” and quotes by Anwar al-Awlaki advo­cat­ing “the duty of killing those who insult our Prophet Muhammad.”

Awlaki was an Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­dist for Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula. He was killed in a drone strike in 2011 but his writ­ings and say­ings con­tinue to be a moti­va­tional force for extrem­ists, includ­ing the Kouachi broth­ers, who are believed to have been two of the three indi­vid­u­als who attacked the Char­lie Hebdo offices last week, and Amedy Coulibaly, believed to be one of the two indi­vid­u­als behind last week’s hostage inci­dent in a kosher gro­cery store in Paris.

At the same time, ISIS sup­port­ers are also con­tin­u­ing a cam­paign of hack­ing Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites and, increas­ingly, sites that are affil­i­ated with gov­ern­ments, mil­i­tary insti­tu­tions, and other orga­ni­za­tions, replac­ing the orig­i­nal text on the site with anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist mes­sages. Mon­day after­noon, ISIS sup­port­ers claimed respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing the social media accounts affil­i­ated with U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand.

One of the Tweets from the #Fight­forHim cam­paign fea­tures a red ban­ner image with the quote, “You are a Mus­lim? Liv­ing in the West? Being a city wolf is your task! For you are the only ones to do so! You are already ’cit­i­zens’, and no doubt you are the suit­able ones to be cho­sen for such a task. You are shar­ing the same land with them! The same busses and trains, the same neighborhoods!”

Sev­eral Tweets also fea­tured what appeared to be pages ready for inser­tion into an English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine that quoted Anwar al-Awlaki nar­rat­ing a story about a “Jew­ish leader and…very elo­quent poet” who wrote poems that spoke out against Muham­mad, after which he was killed. In the story, Muham­mad stated, “I am the Prophet of mercy and I am the prophet of war” and “he has harmed us and he has defamed us with his poetry, and none of you (Jews) would do this except we would deal with him with the sword!”

Image from Twitter campaign showing Anwar al-Awlaki

Image from Twit­ter cam­paign show­ing Anwar al-Awlaki

The three pages that make up this story are titled Char­lie, ref­er­enc­ing the mag­a­zine. In its sub­ject mat­ter, the story also can be read as sup­port­ing attacks on Jews more broadly.

These images and oth­ers were Tweeted directly from mul­ti­ple indi­vid­ual Twit­ter accounts. This may indi­cate that they were part of a coor­di­nated cam­paign run through the Dawn of Glad Tid­ings app, a Twit­ter appli­ca­tion that allows ISIS to Tweet directly onto users’ pages, thus rapidly and widely dis­sem­i­nat­ing pro­pa­ganda and enabling effec­tive hash­tag cam­paigns. Some of the images were Tweeted from between 80 and 100 accounts in minutes.

The cam­paign was sup­ple­mented by an essay writ­ten by an ISIS sup­porter that urged attacks in West­ern coun­tries and pro­vided sug­ges­tions for car­ry­ing them out.

The essay cites Inspire mag­a­zine, Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden and ISIS as sources for inspi­ra­tion and lists mul­ti­ple cities, states, and coun­tries that can be attacked, includ­ing mul­ti­ple loca­tions in the U.S.

“Until life in Nor­way, Florida, Mon­treal, Fin­land, Lis­bon, Lux­em­bourg and Can­berra becomes…a land that burns, a sky that rains rock­ets, and cities through which wolves walk, the lions of jihad, and where breaths are con­ceal (sic) until they taste our sever­ity” it states. The essay later threat­ens addi­tional attacks includ­ing San Fran­cisco, Bel­gium, Lon­don, Madrid, Syd­ney, Rus­sia, Boston, Dal­las, Vir­ginia and Ams­ter­dam with explo­sive devices, booby traps and poison.

This essay was picked up and cir­cu­lated by offi­cial ISIS media out­lets fol­low­ing its post­ing on, an online pub­lish­ing site reg­u­larly used by ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers to quickly and anony­mously post text and images online.

Although the #fight­forHim hash­tag is new, calls by ter­ror­ist groups for home­grown attacks have a lengthy his­tory. In the past year, ISIS, Al Qaeda, AQAP and Al Shabaab have all called for such attacks. In the wake of the attacks in France, addi­tional groups includ­ing the Pak­istani Tal­iban, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Moura­bitoun have also called for copy­cat attacks.

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