French baby named after Toulouse murderer of 4 Jews

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Prosecutors in the city of Nice in southern France were ordered to find legal ways to change the name of a baby whose parents named him for the killer of four Jews in Toulouse in 2012.

Unable to contest on legal grounds the parents’ choice of giving their son the first name “Mohammed Nizar Merah,” city officials listed the baby, who was born earlier this month, as requested by his parents, Nice Matain reported.

But Mayor Christian Estrosi on Friday said in a statement that he had referred the case to city prosecutor to have the baby renamed.

The jihadist Mohammed Merah in March 2012 shot dead Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two young sons, Arieh and Gavriel as well as 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego at the Otzar Hatorah Jewish school before escaping the scene on a motorcycle. Days before that shooting, Merah had killed three French soldiers. He was shot dead by police at his hiding place two days after the school massacre.

Estrosi announced he would contest the registration of the baby’s name on several grounds, including regulations that prohibit names that are deemed “detrimental to the interests of the infant.” But he would also fight the registration on grounds that encourages violence and terrorism, he wrote.

“It is unacceptable in a city still reeling from a murderous terrorist attack this summer,” he wrote in reference to the killing of 84 people in Nice on July 14 by a terrorist who declared allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group. The act of naming the baby after Merah “is an attack on our values and republic,” the statement also read.

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