Slain police officer inspires #JeSuisAhmed campaign

MANILA, Philippines – In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, many have moved in solidarity with the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag – "I am Charlie" in French – as an expression of support for the freedom of speech.

Others, however, are following a different tack, choosing instead to use #JeSuisAhmed – "I am Ahmed" in French – to remember Ahmed Merabet, one of the slain police officers who, some have speculated, is Muslim himself.

Merabet, one of the two slain police officers in the Charlie Hebdo attacks, is recognized primarily because of a video showing him being shot at point-blank range by one of the gunmen.

The New York Times writes that speculation regarding Merabet's religion arose on social media. Social media users praised him as a hero, with others saying Merabet died defending a newspaper that was accused of insulting his faith.

The Guardian notes that a tweet by Arab political activist Dyab Abou Jahjah grew popular in light of that movement.

Jahjah wrote, "I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed."

I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed — Dyab Abou Jahjah (@Aboujahjah) January 8, 2015


Other tweets reinforced the notion that Merabet was a Muslim defending the Charlie Hebdo offices.

Merabet's family, however, wished "to keep as much discretion as possible."

According to the New York Times, officers who knew Merabet could not confirm whether he was a practicing Muslim or not. – Rappler.com