Bouchra Bagour, a 35-year-old mother, seems to have dressed her toddler in too much of hurry for the comfort of France. Bagour took her 3-year-old named Jihad to nursery school and dropped him off in a shirt that read “I Am A Bomb.” Perhaps this would not have been so explosive and clearly racially charged had the shirt not read “Jihad, born on 11 September” on the back.
The BBC reports that the mother has been put on trial in Avignon for “glorifying crime” along with her brother, Zeyad Bagour, who gave the T-shirt to the toddler. Brother and sister denied “defending terrorism.”
Uncle Zeyad told the court:
“It’s the day his birth I wanted to highlight, not the year.”
Other reports have the uncle saying:
“We were never trying to claim responsibility for
or defend a cause.”
The mother maintains that she dressed her son “without stopping to think about it.” Though, she does call the decision “tactless.” Her son was born on September 11th and — goodness forbid — has the name Jihad. Obviously, the mother should have checked with everyone’s xenophobia meter before dressing her kid named Jihad in his birthday shirt.
In a post September 11th world, we’re all fairly aware of the term “jihad” as being defined as “a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty,” or “a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline,” or “a crusade for a principle or belief.” But in Arabic, the word also translates to “struggle.” It’s also generally used as a boy’s name.
The prosecution sees the garment as a “direct and scandalous allusion to terrorism.” They’re asking for a fine of 1,000 euros to the mother and 3,000 euros to the uncle who had the gall to gift the shirt. They reportedly could face face up to five years in prison and fines of up to 45,000 euros –each. The trial — or rather much ado about nothing — will continue next month.