'French teacher asked minute's silence for Merah'

French education minister calls for English teacher's suspension after she called Toulouse killer a "victim."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 23, 2012 18:20
1 minute read.
Alleged photo of Mohamed Merah from French TV.

French Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/France 2 Television)

 
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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.

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The 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.

French 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.

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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."

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