January 12, 2015
My name is Ahmed Merabet. Not Francois or Pierre or Gaston. Just Ahmed. I was a French policeman in Paris on duty when the gunmen struck the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s offices.
They killed me in a spray of bullets and in cold blood. I did my duty as an officer of the law. I died defending those who had insulted my religion against these killers. ‘Je Suis Ahmed’ was written in solidarity on many a banner when people gathered to mourn the innocent dead.
And in my town my family and all the citizens there mourned my loss with grace and dignity. They did not separate by religion, they came together as fellow countrymen. As my brother so eloquently said in remembering my sacrifice: he was a true Muslim, very proud of being a police officer and defending the values of the Republic.
He got that one right.
Many a person in our violent world is devastated by such violence and the acts of barbarity. I am most afraid that there will be a major backlash against my community in France and people, in their fear, will not be able to differentiate between terrorists and Muslims and there is a massive difference. Which is why I want the world to know that I died a good Muslim, in uniform doing what I was trained to do: save and protect the unarmed civilian.
Je Suis Ahmed. Please stop with the killings and the flow of blood.
Let not our deaths have been in vain… at least temper your anger and your fear with this thought.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)