[Legion of Honour recipient Khalil] Merroun leaned forward in his chair. Terrorism is ‘‘not jihad,’’ he said. The jihad of one’s self is about personal betterment and seeking greater understanding.
‘‘Today, you did a great jihad by coming to see me,’’ he said. ‘‘You called yesterday, you took the Metro, it was raining and you came here for a noble cause, to inform people. And I also made an effort, a jihad: I listened to you, I welcomed you and tried to transmit a message to better inform people, to try and dispel misconceptions and spread our true message, thousands of kilometers away, in the United States.’’
Merroun didn’t discount the venom directed at Muslims or refugees — this explained his security detail — but he thought the sour public mood was rooted in broader frustrations, like the lack of jobs. ‘‘So far, things have managed to remain relatively stable,’’ he said.
Our interview finished up shortly after 2 o’clock. I took the train back into Paris with a colleague. That night, less than eight hours later, three teams of suicide bombers and other heavily armed radical Islamists attacked Paris, killing 130 people.
'Today You Did A Great Jihad -- You Took The Train in the Rain'
A moment in a meditation on the fracturing of Europe.
By Grim on Saturday, December 19, 2015