Apparently, when asked in class on January 8 if he was “Charlie,” he replied that he was not. He didn’t like Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons, and that his feelings were with the terrorists. “I am the terrorists, because I am against the cartoonists of the Prophet.”
The head of the school later apprehended Ahmed while he played in a sandbox, saying “stop digging in the sand, you will not find a machine gun there to kill us all with.” Subsequently, the boy’s father accompanied him to school on a couple of occasions, Ahmed being rather distressed and out of sorts by the treatment he was subjected to.
Then on January 21, the head of the school decided to press charges against the little boy and his father. The boy was reported to police for “glorification of terrorism,” and the father for “trespassing” when he accompanied the boy to the school. Both father and son were forced to report to the police station in Nice to answer these charges.
This follows a series of arrests and the recent suspension of a teacher who was also referred to judicial investigation for resisting the “moment’s silence” for Charlie Hebdo. The school rector held a rally for “republican” values after noting the “unacceptable” failure of some teachers to comply with the moment’s silence, and launched an immediate investigation.
Ahmed now has a lawyer, who said: “We are facing a collective hysteria. My client is eight years old! He does not realize the scope of his words. It’s insane.”
Yes, it’s insane. Thankfully, all those who were recently beseeching hashtagged international solidarity, and rallying to the defense of free speech, will not have abandoned the fight so soon. They will not let the Ahmeds down. They will spring into action with the swift, passionate alacrity that we have already seen they are capable of. Won’t they?