Officer Merabet did not work at Charlie Hebdo. He was a beat cop, assigned to patrol the neighborhood where Charlie Hebdo’s offices are located. It was probably a pretty good beat. The neighborhood is known for the breadth of its fine dining and wines.
Biographical information on Officer Merabet is still sparse on the World Wide Web. Unsurprisingly, to the media, his faith has become his defining attribute over the past 36 hours. An innocent Muslim whose life was callously ended by lunatics that perverted the tenets of his religion.
I don’t know how important Officer Merabet considered his Muslim faith. I know that he did not use it as a shield to escape the bullet that entered his brain. And I know that it did not cause his life to be spared. I also know that, because his death was captured on film and spread across social media, his family and friends might have actually watched their loved one die in an unbelievably cruel and senseless way.
I hope that Ahmed Merabet’s family can take comfort in the fact that he died for something important. His life ended while he was protecting the rights of others to satirize his religion. I can think of no more poignant sign of a commitment to freedom of expression.
Merci, and Peace Be Upon You, Officer Merabet. May your life be celebrated and your sacrifice remembered.