New book reveals French terrorist’s anti-Semitic upbringing

New book reveals French terrorist’s anti-Semitic upbringing

Radicalization of Toulouse gunman began at home, brother says

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah (AP/France 2)
Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah (AP/France 2)

The terrorist who attacked a Jewish school in the south of France earlier this year, killing a rabbi and three children, was radicalized by his parents while growing up, his brother says in a new book.

Mohamed Merah’s brother, Abdelghani Merah, recalls in “My Brother, the Terrorist” how the gunman’s eight-day shooting spree was preceded by years of extreme religious indoctrination at home.

According to Abdelghani, Merah’s mother was ultimately the one responsible for spreading a message of anti-Semitism and radicalizing her son.

“I will explain how my parents raised you in an atmosphere of racism and hate before the Salafis could douse you in religious extremism,” he writes in the book.

Last March, Merah killed three Jewish children, a rabbi and three paratroopers in the cities of Toulouse and Montauban before being shot by French police.

Merah claimed links to al-Qaeda and said he had received training in an Islamist military camp in Pakistan.

Another one of his brothers, Abdelkader, faces preliminary charges in the case as well and is still in police custody.

A documentary film covering similar topics was set to air Sunday on French television, featuring interviews with Abdelghani and his sister, Souad. “My mother always said, ‘We the Arabs, we were born to hate Jews,’ Abdelghani says in a scene from the movie. “This speech, I heard it all throughout my childhood.”

Earlier this year, Merah’s mother was held for questioning regarding the shooting, but she has since been released.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

read more: