The mother and uncle of a toddler were in court, Wednesday facing charges of ‘defending terrorism,’ the mother having sent her young son, who happens to be named ‘Jihad’ to nursery school wearing a T-shirt carrying the legend “I am a bomb."
On September 25 last year, the toddler had appeared at his local nursery school in the Vaucluse in southern France. Emblazoned on the front of his T-shirt were the words, “Je suis une bombe,” meaning “I am a bomb.” On the reverse of the boy’s shirt it read, “Jihad né le 11 septembre,” which translates as “Jihad, born September 11”. When a teacher at nursery school saw how the toddler was dressed, she quickly found another shirt for the boy to wear until his mother came to collect him in the evening.
The mother apologised to the school for her ‘naivety’ but, learning of what had happened, the Mayor of Avignon reported the circumstances to local prosecution authorities leading to this week’s court appearance.
As a result, the mother, 35 year old Bouchra Bagour and her brother, Zeyad Bagour the boy’s uncle, who had given the toddler the T-shirt as a gift, faced trial in Avignon this week, reports France 24.
They face charges of “glorifying a crime” and, as a result, the two face maximum penalties of five years in prison and fines of up to €45,000 each.
Thought it would “make people laugh”
On Wednesday, in court, the mother agreed the T-shirt was “tactless” but gave an assurance it was not intended as a provocation. According to The Local, both accused had thought the boy’s T-shirt would “make people laugh”. The Local quotes the mother as saying, “For me the text is simply my son’s name and his date of birth. It’s a bit different but I thought it would make people laugh. My brother gave my son the sweatshirt, I put it on him, and I never thought anything of it.”
As to the slogan on the reverse of the T-shirt, the mother said she had simply wanted to highlight her son’s birthday as being September 11 and had never intended any reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Her co-accused, the boy’s uncle, told the court, "We were never trying to claim responsibility for (the 9/11 attacks) or defend a cause."
The prosecutor in the case disagreed claiming the two defendants had shown no regret, according to BBC News. Addressing the court the prosecutor said, “Who can claim that this is not a direct and scandalous allusion to terrorism?"
The prosecution are calling for fines of €1,000 to be imposed on the mother and €3,000 on the boy’s uncle.
The two accused are due to return to court on April 10, when the court is expected to pronounce sentence.