Source :thenewfederalist. eu
The Toulouse killings revived the debate on Islam in Europe
On 19 March, France woke up to the dreadful news that someone had killed three children (aged 3, 6 and 10 years old) and a teacher in a Jewish school in Toulouse. It soon appeared that the killer used the same weapon and method as in three previous murders that targeted French muslim soldiers in Montauban. The murderer was rapidly identified as Mohamad Merah, a French citizen with Algerian origins who claimed to be linked to Al-Qaeda.
During the 32-hour siege in his apartment before he was killed, Merah justified his acts by his desire to avenge Palestinian children killed by Israel and to punish the French army for getting involved in Libya and Afghanistan. Merah was a French citizen and was not perceived as an Islamist by people who knew him, despite having travelled twice to Afghanistan and Pakistan to receive training from the Taliban. These events forced the issues of Islam and Islamism in Europe onto the agenda of the ongoing presidential campaign in France, and triggered intense debate across Europe. They revived certain extreme-right movements, like in Denmark, where 300 people observed one minute’s silence in memory of Merah’s victims and protested against “the Islamification of Europe”. How should European governments go about separating Islam from Islamism?
Why Islam is so specific
Islam is a specific case because, unlike the Catholic Church, it has no central authority to which the whole Muslim world needs to obey. Hence there are numerous and diverse interpretations of the Quran.