NICE – Losing three family members in Nice attack, a young French Muslim woman made a plea on Monday, September 19, not to confuse Islam with terrorism.
“On July 14th, this national holiday, our lives were changed forever,” Yasmine Bouzegan Marzouk, 21, told a national ceremony in tribute to the French victims of terror attacks, Agence France Presse reported.
The young woman’s voice broke with emotion, while paying the tribute, with tears streaming down her face.
“We are from a Muslim family and no one should make the link (between Islam and the attacks),” she said, rejecting the attacks carried out by “barbarians who do not follow the law, faith or religion”.
Marzouk was referring to July 14th attack when a lorry ploughed through a crowd of people watching fireworks to celebrate French national holiday Bastille Day in the city on the French Riviera.
The driver Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who was known to the police for petty crimes, was described by ISIS as one of its followers.
The council called for French Muslims to pray on Friday for “the memory of the victims of this barbarian attack”.
Muslims in America, Canada, Gulf, and Egypt also condemned the vicious attack.
About 120,000 people in the Alpes-Maritimes are originally from the Maghreb — including Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. The majority of them are Muslims.
Marzouk, who herself survived the attack, recalled how one of her relatives, 13-year-old Mehdi Hachadi, was crushed under the wheels of the truck that sped through the crowd on the Nice waterfront.
“The life of a child who had such a promising future was snatched away. He was brought up in the Muslim faith which says we should respect others and show tolerance,” she said.
Marzouk called on French President Francois Hollande “and his successors” to “put a halt once and for all to these acts of savagery… so that the terror to which French citizens are subjected will end and hatred can no longer be stoked by different religions.”
Addressing the rain-swept ceremony at the Invalides, Hollande said France was at “war”.
He announced a reform of the 30-year-old system to compensate victims of terror attacks and their families, saying: “This war has produced so many victims that… the authorities’ response and the rules for compensation cannot remain unchanged.”