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France's 'other Kouachis' sent death threats

The Local · 21 Jan 2015, 17:48

Published: 21 Jan 2015 17:48 GMT+01:00

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Families across France with the same name as Amedy Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers have been left in danger.
One woman with the surname of Coulibaly told the French newspaper Le Figaro that her family has been getting regular calls in the very early hours of the morning. 
"I keep telling them: Yes, my husband's name is Amedy Coulibaly like the terrorist, but we don't know him, we're not from the same family."
Her husband has reported the harassment to police. 
The effects of having the tainted name have perhaps been felt the hardest in the schoolyard.
The mother of a Kouachi family told the paper that her children were being treated like terrorists.
"Other students started insulting them, they treated my son like a terrorist in his high school, the same happened to my daughter in middle school," she said. 
"It's been very difficult for us. We even thought about changing our name."
A pensioner with the surname of Kouachi said he was scared for his family. 
"Idiots were calling to insult us. They probably found our name in a phone book," he said. "We're Muslim, I go to a mosque, and I'm afraid that people will lash out at us," he exaplained.
He added that his granddaughter didn't feel safe either. 
"Yesterday morning when I went to pick her up at school she told me: 'Grandpa, don't say hello to me in Arabic in front of school, please."
Story continues below…
The same phenomenon occurred in France two years ago when Mohamed Merah killed seven people, including three Jewish children, a rabbi and three paratroopers in the city of Toulouse.
"It's insane, completely mad," another man with the exact same name said at the time. "My life was just turned upside down. For the thirty hours that he was holed up in his flat, I was confined to my bed."
Others reported being targeted on social media, with people hunting "the real Merah" on Facebook, then sharing the details of anyone who matched the description released by police.
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