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French police interrogate Muslim children for disliking insulting cartoons

Albertville police in southeast France raided the homes of four 10-year-old Muslim students because they did not approve of the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

The police in Albertville, a city in southeast France, raided the residences of four school children for “glorifying terrorism” because the 10-year-olds did not approve of derogatory caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, the last messenger of God, according to the Muslim faith.

During a counselling session France reportedly conducted in public schools, three Muslim students of Turkish origin and one of Arab descent were asked if they were sorry for the murder of Samuel Paty, a French schoolteacher who was beheaded by a teenager last month for displaying derogatory cartoons of the prophet. 

The trio said they condemned Paty’s murder, but also did not approve of the insensitive caricatures.

After the end of the counselling session, the French police raided their homes. Speaking to TRT World, one of the students’ fathers recalls the terrifying raid they suffered on Thursday morning shortly before 7 am, “We woke up with armed police at our doors. Around 10 of them stormed into our house with long barreled weapons. Children were awakened from their sleep and they gathered us in the living room in our pyjamas. They kept us seated as they searched through the house but my daughter’s room more diligently, checking her books and even taking pictures of Islamic calligraphy frames we have on our walls.”

Police took his daughter EY to the station on charges of “glorification of terrorism.” They asked her parents to come to the station at 9 am for questioning.

“Police questioned us, me and my wife for two hours each asking ‘do you go to mosque for praying? If so, do you take your children with you? Do you have any duty at the mosque? What do you think about the caricatures?’ et cetera. I told them, our prophet is dear to all of us, all the Muslims and we do not find it appropriate. But I also told them, we do not support the killing of the teacher.”

EY’s father says his wife and the rest of the family were asked the same questions during the interrogation.

“We were treated like terrorists. They took our mugshots, fingerprints and they even asked my wife to remove her headscarf for photographs. We have been living here for the past 20 years with no criminal record. Neither of my four children ever had any problems at school or with police. I was even asked about my opinion on the recent Erdogan-Macron dispute during my questioning. I urged the French police not to involve us in their politics.”

The parents were not allowed to see their daughter at the police station. EY was released at around 5:30 pm Thursday evening. Her father says, “She was crying as the police took her in the morning. Later she was taken to the police station where she was questioned and filmed through her interrogation. She was kept almost 11 hours there until the judicial decision for her release. She had to sign her statement but the police refused to give us a copy of any documentation.”

The families feel they have been blacklisted by the police and the school. “We are asking our 22- year-old son to be extra careful now when he is leaving home. We will take EY to a doctor for a medical report as she hasn’t recovered from the trauma. We are considering changing her school now.”

 [NOTE:  EY are the initials of one of the students who was subjected to harsh interrogation by the French police.]

Courtesy: TRT World

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