Three years after attacks committed by Mohamed Merah in the name of jihad, Toulouse paid homage to the seven victims during a commemorative evening attended by Nicolas Sarkozy and Bernard Cazeneuve. The Jewish community called on former president Sarkozy and the Interior Minister to honor Myriam Monsonego, 8 years old, Gabrel and Arieh Sandler, 4 and 5, and their father, rabbi Jonathan Sandler, killed March 19 in the Jewish school of Ozar Hatorah.

Three soldiers, Imad Ibn Ziaten, Abel Chennouf, and Mohamed Legouad, were shot March 11 and 12, 2012 in Toulouse and Montauban. Two months after the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks, and the recent attack in Tunis, this commemorative day is especially important.     

“Last year, the ceremony occurred before the attacks at the Jewish museum of Brussels, before Copenhagen, and of course before the attacks in Paris and Tunisia,” said Nicole Yardeni, regional president of CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) who organized the events with the Toulouse’s Jewish community.

“We then realized that awareness of the war declared against civilization, democracy and the freedom was not widespread” she added. “Now we need to hope that each person, individually, will fight as they can to defend the values of the Republic.

Alber Chennouf-Meyer, father of one of the soldiers, came from his home in Nimes to help at the ceremony. “Commemoration is important. If we banalize what’s happened, it’s the end of the civilized world,” he said.

Born to a “berbere, secular and atheist,” miner, and a Catholic alsacienne mother, Chennouf-Meyer is “very pessimistic.” “Nazism will not stop until we rise and beat them down while declaring war, because this is a question of war,” he said. “For too long French politics have allowed Islamism to continue, we need to regain territory and reaffirm the foundations of the Republic and of secularism,” said Alber Chennouf, who called for “the expulsion of all Islamist radicals.”

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