The ‘Islamic State-inspired’ Notre Dame hammer attacker was allegedly radicalised in Sweden and awarded a so-called “Journalist Prize Against Discrimination” by the European Union (EU) for writing pro-migrant articles during his time there.
The Algerian suspected jihadist Farid Ikken, 40, was given the award in 2009 by the European Commission, the EU’s unelected executive branch, for a report about asylum seekers claiming healthcare in Sweden, Expressen reports.
The “EU Commission’s National Journalist Prize Against Discrimination” was awarded to him for an article dealing with “asylum seekers who are not entitled to medical care and who are therefore forced to seek medical care, as well as healthcare staff and others who still provide health care to asylum seekers,” the Commission wrote in a statement.
Eight years later, this Tuesday, the award-winning journalist cried “this is for Syria” while hitting a policeman with a hammer in front of France’s most iconic cathedral.
The highly educated, well-travelled jihadi was shot in the chest and is currently recovering in hospital. He also left a video claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to The Times.
VIDEO van de aanval met hamer op politieagent nabij de Notre-Dame. (LCI) pic.twitter.com/PaIbkAYiN8
— Terreur Nieuws (@DreigingNL) June 7, 2017
The future terrorist came to Sweden to study for a master’s degree, LIC reports, where he had a Swedish wife before getting a divorce. His nephew, Sofiane Ikken, claims he was radicalised during his time. “I think he started to take an interest in religion during his stay in Sweden,” he told TSA-Algerie, a French-language Algerian site.
After graduating from university in the Swedish capital Stockholm, he worked as a freelance journalist for various papers and radio stations between 2009 and 2010, when he wrote his award-winning article.
He then returned to his native Algeria after the 2011 Arab uprising, where he set up a regional news site and worked on Al Watan, a national newspaper, before moving to France in 2013 to study for a PhD.
Mr. Ikken regularly wrote about terror and jihad during this time. Describing his work at the Bejaia-today Algerian news site, he wrote on his Linkedin profile: “I headed up a small team composed of two permanent journalists, two freelancers and a translator for two years.
“My main task was to ensure that the content of our website was updated continuously, and to edit material sent by correspondents or written by journalists.”
He added: “The processing of press releases, the call to civil protection services, hospitals, public institutions and institutions, the translation of Arabic and English content and the correction of texts were also part of my duties.
“I also assisted in the writing of news articles and the editorial regularly.”