French mother in court after sending three-year-old son named ‘Jihad’ to school in a T-shirt saying ‘I am a bomb’
A French mother has appeared in court after sending her three-year-old son named Jihad to school in a T-shirt saying ‘I am a bomb.’
Bouchra Bagour, 35, insisted she had put it on him ‘without stopping to think about it’ when he wore it to the nursery in Sorgues near Avignon on 24 September.
Bagour is charged with ‘glorifying crime.’
Teachers and the headteacher were shocked by the clothing and alerted authorities.
A few days later the town mayor, Thierry Lagneau of the conservative UMP party, asked prosecutors to investigate.
I condemn the attitude of the parents who shamefully took advantage of the person and the age of this child to convey a political message,’ Lagneau said at the time.
At the start of her trial in Avignon, she denied defending terrorism through the T-shirt message.
‘I thought it might make people laugh,’ she said, according to Le Parisien.
The expression plays on the popular French saying ‘Je suis la bombe’, which translates roughly as ‘I am the best’.
The back of the T-shirt read ‘Born on 11 September,’ but Bagour insisted it was only a reference to her son’s date of birth.
Ms Bagour’s brother – who gave the T-shirt to her three-year-old son is a co-defendant in the case and also denies the charge.
Zeyad Bagour said he he was not trying to promote a message by buying the T-shirt.
‘It’s the day his birth I wanted to highlight, not the year,’ he told the court.
In an interview with the newspaper La Provence in November, Boucha Bagour said that while she is Muslim, ‘there is no message to be conveyed by the T-shirt — no intent.’
‘Bomb’ is used in the sense of ‘handsome,’ nothing more,’ she said.
However, lawyer Claude Avril said: ‘Idiocy is often the best alibi to hide the real intentions’, reported Sky News.
‘The most scandalous thing is that they’ve used and manipulated a three-year-old child to voluntarily convey the words of a terrorist.’
The prosecutor in Avignon previously told the court the family must have known the reaction the boy’s clothing would provoke, reported The Local.
‘At some point there must be limits. They are not stupid. They understand the significance of what they are doing,’ he said.
He called for a fine of 1,000 euros (£870; $1,300) against Ms Bagour and 3,000 euros for her brother.
Josette Pessemesse, from the far-left Front de Gauche party, wrote an open letter to the court defending the ‘right to humour.’ It was signed by around 50 people.
‘This is the same as qualifying all Muslims as terrorists,’ Pessemesse told France Info.
The trial has been adjourned until next month.