(JTA) — The mother of a French Muslim soldier killed by the same jihadist who murdered four at a Jewish school in Toulouse skipped a commemoration for all the victims at the school, insisting on a separate memorial service for her son.
Latifa Ibn Ziaten, who has campaigned with French Jews against radicalism, told the news agency AFP that she stayed away from the main official ceremony Sunday in memory of the seven people killed by Mohammed Merah in 2012 because her son and two other soldiers were not given a separate military service on the five-year anniversary of their murder.
Merah on March 19 of that year killed a rabbi and two of his sons, as well as another child, at the Otzar Hatorah school. The killings followed his slaying on March 11 of Imad Ibn Ziaten near the city and two other French-Muslim soldiers on March 15. Police killed Merah in a shootout on March 22.
“My son died because he was military, but no one pays him homage on March 11,” Ibn Ziaten said. “Nobody thinks of the soldiers.”
Toulouse Mayor Jean-Luc Moudenc and Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux attended the ceremony.
“Like you, the republic will never forget. She will remember her children lost in the night of terror in Toulouse and Montobaun,” Le Roux said, naming the suburb where Merah killed the soldiers.
Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow and the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, has said the attack in Toulouse was the onset of a “new wave of terrorism designed to intimidate Europe and its Jews.”
Hundreds of people have died in France and Belgium in several jihadist attacks since 2012. Of those, at least three were designed to kill Jews or Israelis.