My son is the terrorist who killed your daughter: The unusual friendship of Bataclan fathers

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When the ISIL terrorists attacked a rock concert audience at the Bataclane Hall in Paris in 2015, Georges Salinas lost his daughter and Azdin Amimur lost his son. Both are 28 years old. The grief of their lost children brings the two men closer together, but while their relationship may seem understandable, on the other hand it is extremely unusual. The reason is that Amimur’s son, Sammy, is one of three attackers who killed Lola and 89 others at the concert. He was shot dead by security forces before detonating explosives attached to his bulletproof vest.

The two men tell the Dubai National newspaper how their friendship arose, bTV. The first meeting between the two fathers is not easy. Salinas, 62, is a former director of the Paris Office of Environmental Impact. After the bloody terrorist act at Bataclan, he became chairman of the Assault Victims Association, which is why Amimur sought him out.

Salinas reveals that he initially found it difficult to accept the idea of ​​meeting the father of one of his daughter’s murderers, but was also intrigued because he did not know what Amimur was looking for. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Frenchman is seeking an answer to the question of what caused young people of his daughter’s age to do such a terrible act. She decides that maybe Sammy’s father will answer that question.

Amimur is also looking for an answer to the question how it came to radicalizing his son and whether or not this was due to his failure as a father. The 72-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent is not defined as a religious Muslim, all the more so as he has worked in the music and film business all his life.

“We never suspected. He was a kind-hearted and intelligent boy who had everything. When I began to pray more often and showed an interest in religion, I tried to show my support by stopping drinking alcohol and becoming more religious. But i am a muslim who believes in peace and tolerance while Sammy proved easy to indoctrinate“, Says his father, who made his son an easy prey for radical elements in a mosque in the Paris suburb of Drancy.

Prior to joining the jihadist networks, Sammy was an excellent law student with promising career opportunities, but all this ended when he left college and became a bus driver. Later, Amimur’s son left for Syria, explaining that he would work for a humanitarian organization, but later his parents realized that this was not the case. The father tries to get his son back to France, even traveling to meet him, but Sami refuses to go home. According to Amimur, during this period his son looked like a “zombie”.

At the time of the attack in Bataclane Hall, he didn’t even know his son was in Paris. and was harassed by the French colonial authorities in Algeria.

“I have experienced racism, humiliation and contempt, but I have not supported terrorism for a second. I found another time, using my life experience, to live my life. I stigmatize what my son did, but I cannot stop to love him and I will always believe that he is also a victim of manipulation“, Says Amimur.

Georges Salinas says the trauma of non-jihadist parents is also very great, but it is difficult for the victims’ relatives to hear about it. However, there is a strong bond between the two men, which Salinasne would call “friendship” because the two do not go on vacation and have fun.

Amimur recounts that he felt he could contact Lola’s father because of their common pain and sadness, and he often thought of his daughter because it bore the same name as his sister. The series of meetings and conversations between the two men leads them to the idea of ​​writing a common book to answer the questions that are of concern to them. Their work “We still have words” is a kind of therapeutic project. In it, Amimur writes a letter to Salinas’ dead daughter, and to his son. Salinas says the project has drawn criticism from the far-right media, who see the parents of the attackers as “proxy terrorists.”

However, have the two men been able to find the answer to the questions that concern them?

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