As the death toll continues to mount in Nice, France after a truck plowed into Bastille Day oceanfront crowds in what is suspected to be an Islamic terror attack, a report has emerged that a number of the victims were Muslims themselves.
The UK Guardian cited Maryam Violet, an Iranian journalist in France on vacation, who reported: “There were so many Muslim people who were victims because I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic. One family lost a mother and in Arabic they were saying she’s a martyr.”
France has a significant Muslim population, as well as extensive tourism from the Middle East, so it was virtually a given that Muslims would be among the holiday crowds.
It is not the first time Muslims have been victims of terror attacks in France. In the November 2015 terror attack, there were a significant number of Muslims among the dead and wounded, including several who had been working or eating in restaurants that the terrorists targeted.
The term “martyr” (“shaheed”) need not refer to a terrorist, but can also refer to anyone who loses their life in a noble cause, or is targeted for their faith. Terrorists argue that innocent Muslim victims of their attacks are also martyrs, but the term need not be applied in a way that endorses the attack. In this case, given the context of Bastille Day celebrations, the opposite meaning could be the one intended — i.e. that the victims were martyrs for France, and for co-existence.
Islamic terrorists have attempted many similar attacks in Israel recently, using trucks or other vehicles. Typically, such attacks are stopped by armed civilians or security personnel.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.