Young French Muslims fear attack after Paris shootings


Ahmed and Chehine

"I'm afraid there will be backlash," 24-year-old Justin told Newsbeat from the northern Paris suburb of Saint Ouen.

It's part of a region in Paris with a large Muslim population.

A number of mosques have already been attacked in France, and there's been an explosion at a kebab shop next to a mosque in Paris.

The attacks happened after 12 people were killed at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.

It had previously published cartoons which mocked the Prophet Mohammad.

On Saturday four hostages were killed during an attack on a Jewish grocery store.

Justin said: "Some of my Muslim friends have received a few negative comments. I hope it stops."


"It's not a good situation, it's not good for our image," 16-year-old Ali told Newsbeat.

He condemns the terror attacks but doesn't believe journalists have an unlimited right to offend people.

"It wasn't good to make these cartoons about the prophet, but it was also not good to kill people. Both were wrong," he said.

France has the biggest Muslim community in Europe. Islam is the second religion here, after Catholicism.

"The Muslim community don't feel guilty about the attacks. Terrorism doesn't refer to our religion - we condemn these acts totally," 23-year-old Chehine told Newsbeat.

"The problem is 12 people are dead. All the media talk about it. But in Iraq, in Syria, and in Palestine, every day thousands of people are dead, and no one talks about it. That's the real problem."

His friend Ahmed, also 23, fears there will be tension between the Muslim community and other communities in Paris due to the attacks.

"I think there will be some difficulties in relations with other religions because they think Muslims are to blame, but they're not. The attackers were extremists."

Ahmed and Chehine

France is secular. Muslim girls are banned from wearing a veil in public schools here, while Jewish boys can't wear a skullcap (yarmulke).

In the Jewish quarter in central Paris, armed police stand guard outside local Synagogues.

"We don't feel safe," 23-year-old Ana, an employee at a clothes store on Rue des Rosiers, told Newsbeat.

"I'm quite worried because we are in a Jewish area. I'd like to see more police on the streets. Some crazy guy with a gun could come here."

France has the biggest Jewish community in Europe and many here are nervous more attacks could take place.


"I'm pessimistic. (The Jewish community) are afraid." 28-year-old Yohann told Newsbeat. "I think a lot of Jewish people will go back or go to Israel now. It was already happening. I think there is a divide between communities."

On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the terror attacks by telling French Jews that Israel is their home.

French President Francois Hollande has called for unity. On Saturday about 700,000 people took part in marches across France in memory of the victims of the terror attacks.

"Society has changed. There are still disagreements between communities, but less than before," 19-year-old Riad, who's a Muslim, told Newsbeat. He believes the murders have shown that communities aren't as divided as sometimes portrayed.

Image caption Riad

"People think that terrorists are Muslim, but it's only a very small minority of Muslims, some extremists, radicals. It's not the religion that made the terrorist."

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