French authorities are attempting to stop a child being named after a notorious al-Qaeda terrorist who murdered numerous soldiers and Jews in cold blood.
Mohamed Nizar Merah, who went by the name Mohamed Merah, went on a nine-day rampage through Toulouse in March 2012, killing seven people and wounding five, four seriously.
Four of his victims, including three children, were killed at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse.
Now authorities in Nice, where 85 people were killed by Islamic State less than six months ago, are trying to change a local newborn’s name, arguing that naming the child after a jihadist amounts to defending terrorism – a serious criminal offence.
Town hall officials brought the child’s name to the attention of authorities at the beginning of the month.
“The public prosecutor’s office, therefore, appealed to the family judge as allowed by the civil code,” prosecutor of Nice Jean-Michel Priest told a press conference, reported Nice-Matin.
He could not reveal, however, many details about the 15-day-old child, including if he was Muslim or his parents had named him after the terrorist intentionally.
But, he did say the decision will be made “within the next few days” and “will apply immediately regardless of the parents’ decision”, who will have the opportunity to appeal.
“It is the court that will decide whether or not to remove the name of Mohamed from the civil registry for that child and whether or not it is necessary to give him another name,” added Mr. Michel Prêtre.
“It is really in relation to the pure interest of the child, and not in relation to a context, or a religion or a violent radicalism, supposing that all things are taken into account,” he said.
When a journalist asked if the parents had acted in “provocation [or] unconsciousness and stupidity” when naming the child, he said:
“Of course there will be an inquiry into the family context because there is something alarming for the prosecutor to understand about where this child will grow up.”