French baby named for killer of 4 Jews at Toulouse school
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French baby named for killer of 4 Jews at Toulouse school

Nice mayor refers case to city prosecutor, saying calling child after Mohammed Merah encourages violence and terrorism

Students comfort each other at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school where a gunman opened fire killing four people in Toulouse, on March 19, 2012. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Students comfort each other at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school where a gunman opened fire killing four people in Toulouse, on March 19, 2012. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Prosecutors in the city of Nice in southern France were ordered to find legal ways to change the name of a baby whose parents named their son for the killer of four Jews at a school in Toulouse in 2012.

Unable to contest on legal grounds the parents’ choice of giving the boy the name Mohammed Nizar Merah, city officials listed the baby, who was born earlier this month, as requested by his parents, Nice Matain reported.

But Mayor Christian Estrosi said in a statement Friday that he had referred the case to the city prosecutor to have the baby renamed.

The jihadist Mohammed Merah in March 2012 shot dead Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two young sons, Arieh and Gavriel, as well as 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, at the Otzar Hatorah Jewish school before fleeing on a motorcycle. Days before the shooting, Merah had killed three French soldiers. He was shot dead by police at his hiding place two days after the school massacre.

Reproduction photo of 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, daughter of school headmaster Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, who was killed in a shooting attack at the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse, France, early Monday morning. (photo credit: Flash90)
8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, daughter of school headmaster Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, who was killed in a shooting attack at the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse, France, on March 19, 2012 (Flash90)

Estrosi said he would contest the registration of the baby’s name on several grounds, including regulations that prohibit names that are deemed “detrimental to the interests of the infant.” But the mayor also wrote that he would also fight the registration on grounds that encourages violence and terrorism.

“It is unacceptable in a city still reeling from a murderous terrorist attack this summer,” he wrote in reference to the killing of 84 people in Nice on July 14 by a terrorist who declared allegiance to the Islamic State. The act of naming the baby after Merah “is an attack on our values and republic,” the statement also said.

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