A French court of appeal on Friday handed a suspended sentence to a mother who sent her infant son Jihad to kindergarten in a T-shirt marked “Jihad, born on September 11” and “I am a bomb.” Jihad’s mother, Bouchra Bagour, and his uncle Zeyad, sponsor of the T-shirt, were convicted of being apologists for crime over the apparent reference to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, French radio reported.
The court in the southern town of Nimes gave the mother a one-month suspended sentence and a €2,000 ($2,706) fine.
Her brother received a two-month suspended sentence and a fine of €4,000.
A defence lawyer labelled the verdict “severe” and said the siblings were considering an appeal.
A lower court had cleared the pair in April, saying that dressing a child in a provocative T-shirt did not necessarily make someone an apologist for terrorism.
Jihad was, as the T-shirt stated, born on September 11 in the year 2009.
His mother, a divorced secretary, told judges in April 2013 that she “didn’t think” when she dressed him in the T-shirt in 2012. The garment was a gift from her younger brother.
“For me it’s his name and his date of birth,” she said.
Her brother’s lawyer argued that Jihad was a common first name in the Middle East that had become subverted by fundamentalists. Jihad translates broadly as leading a holy life, but it is also used by Islamist radicals to denote a holy war.
As for the “I am a bomb” phrase, the lawyer pointed out that many shops sold T-shirts with the slogan, which is slang in France for an attractive person.
But state prosecutors were unconvinced by their explanations, believing they set out to “trivialise a terrorist act” and demanding a retrial, which was held in July.