France's education minister called for disciplinary proceedings against a
teacher in the north of France on Friday, after she allegedly asked her students
to observe a moment's silence for serial killer Mohamed Merah, the man
who gunned down three children and a rabbi in front of Jewish school in
Toulouse earlier this week.
Students in the the French English teacher's class in
Rouen wrote to their principal that she had called the serial killer a
"victim," and said his links to al-Qaida were fabricated by the media
and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, according to AFP.
teacher's request prompted most of the students to empty out of the
classroom, though some stayed behind to "try to understand what she was
talking about," AFP reported according to their letter.
Education Minister Luc Chatel has called for the teacher to be suspended
for her request, which was made the day after police shot Merah dead in
the south of France after he went on a killing spree.
On Thursday, France's Le Monde
newspaper reported that Merah, who killed three soldiers and four Jews in France in the last two weeks, had been on a trip to Israel in the past.
According to the report, Merah's passport had Israeli stamps in it. The purpose of his visit is not known, but analysts suspect he was either trying to visit the Palestinian territories or do reconnaissance to plan a terror attack.
The Jerusalem Post
could not confirm the veracity of this report.
Based on the stamps in his passports, Merah also visited Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Afghanistan.
The 23-year-old gunman who said al-Qaida inspired him to kill seven people in France died from a gunshot wound to the head on Thursday as he scrambled out of a ground-floor window during a gunbattle with elite police commandos.
Sarkozy called Merah's killings terrorist attacks and announced a crackdown
on people following extremist websites.
"From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism or that call for hate and violence will be punished," he said in a statement. "France will not tolerate ideological indoctrination on its soil."