Brother of policeman shot near Charlie Hebdo office urges unity

Islam must not be conflated with extremism, says family of Ahmed Merabet

Ruadhan Mac Cormaic describes the mood in Paris after a dark, disorienting week that came to a brutal end last night with dramatic shootouts. Video: Reuters/Getty/DCOM

The family of a Muslim police officer shot dead by the Charlie Hebdo killers in Paris has described them as "madmen" with "no religion".

Malik Merabet said the death of his brother Ahmed Merabet was a "waste" and pleaded for unity, saying Islam must not be conflated with extremism.

During an emotional news conference, Mr Merabet broke down when asked about graphic images of his brother lying injured on a pavement and apparently raising his arms in defence before one of the gunmen shot him dead at close range.

‘Very proud’


Mr Merabet said his brother was “very proud” to represent the police and “defend the values” of the French republic.

He said: “Thanks to his determination, he became a judicial police officer. Companions described him as somebody who loved his job.

“He was committed. He looked after his mother and his close family. He was a pillar of the family. He was a very protective father, a lovely brother, a loving companion.”

He said the family was “devastated by this barbaric act”, adding: “We are devastated for all the victims.”

He went on: “I am addressing myself to all racists - the Islamophobes and the anti-Semites: You must not mix up extremism with Muslims.

‘No colour nor religion’

“The madmen have no colour nor religion. Stop ... having wars or burning mosques or burning synagogues because you are attacking people.

“My brother was Muslim and he was killed by two terrorists, by two false Muslims.

“Islam is a religion of peace and love. As far as my brother’s death is concerned it was a waste.”

Of the killers - brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi - he said: “I am glad they were stopped.”

Press Association