France’s five-million strong Islamic community fears it may be subject to repercussions after it emerged the main suspect in the killing of seven people – including three young children – was Muslim.
In Toulouse itself, the message was one of tolerance.
“There are issues between Arabs and Jews,” said one man. “That’s not good. On earth we’re the same race.”
“Whatever you are, Jewish, Muslim, Arab or anything else, we are all the same blood,” added another.
Many Muslims already feel they are all viewed as potential extremists. In Paris one felt the media had focused on the wrong aspect of the killings.
“What shocked me most was that the victims were children,” he said. “But the media is putting the spotlight more on the fact it concerns Jews and Muslims or for example that a Muslim killed an Arab.”
Another added: “It’s true that tolerance regarding Islam is already greatly reduced. And what’s happening in Toulouse is inevitably going to raise fears.”
A joint appeal by the Jewish and Islamic communities for tolerance has been issued but plans for a joint rally on Sunday have been cancelled.