The police officer executed by gunmen in the street outside the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris was a Muslim. His name was Ahmed Merabet.
The story of Merabet’s confrontation with the Paris terrorists is turning out to be one of the most poignant in the whole affair.
And it’s proof, if further proof were needed, that Muslims are much more frequently the victims of Islamic terrorism than Westerners are. According to the Global Terrorism Index, 80% of all the deaths from terrorism in 2013 were in Muslim-majority countries Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. Since 2000 only 5% of all deaths from terrorism have been in developed countries — although they have been among the most deadly.
France is adopting Merabet, 42, as its most French hero. French Twitter is filled with tributes to Merabet, under the #JeSuisAhmed hashtag. Merabet had been a cop for eight years and had just qualified to become a detective, The Guardian says. He had a girlfriend.
Merabet is the officer seen in the heartbreaking video of the shooters’ attack on Charlie Hebdo, as seen through a mobile phone from across the street.
The worst part of the video — aside from the moment when the gunmen finish him off with a shot to the head — is where Merabet, lying injured on the pavement, tries to raise his arms in surrender. He is clearly no threat to the gunmen. And they kill him anyway.
What the video doesn’t show is that as the shooters got out of their car, Merabet had already responded to the scene. He had his weapon drawn and was preparing to face down the terrorists, according to The Guardian.
Here’s what happened next.
Be warned: The following images are graphic and upsetting. We have chosen not to show the final moments, but have described them. The lead up to his murder is worth seeing for two reasons:
First, people ought to have a realistic idea of just how brutal Islamic terrorists are. (They aren’t “fighting” anyone. They’re just killing people.)
And second, because it shows Merabet doing his best in an impossible situation. Overwhelmed by superior firepower, he lies injured but alive on the sidewalk, and he tries to persuade his attackers that they don’t need to keep killing.
The gunmen emerge from their car. The shooter on the right raises his rifle and begins firing at Merabet.
Immediately, Merabet is hit and he goes down on the pavement, rolling as he falls.
He appears to be hit in the side or the leg. Merabet is clearly injured but alive.
The gunmen run up to him. Merabet looks at them and clearly raises his arms in surrender. One of the attackers was heard asking, “Do you want to kill me?” Merabet tells him, “No, it is OK chief.”
Although Merabet is clearly no threat at this stage, the gunman walks up to him and shoots him in the head.
The gunmen walk on by before circling back to their hijacked getaway car.
Merabet will be buried in the Bobigny cemetery near Paris. About 7,000 Muslims are buried there.