World Bulletin/News Desk
During the attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, two police officers were killed apart from the cartoonists.
The officer, Ahmed Merabet, was the second police officer to be killed that day; another officer assigned to protect Charlie Hebdo's editorial director was also killed.
But the killing of Merabet stood out: The #JeSuisAhmed hashtag - "I am Ahmed" in French - sprang up on social media alongside #JeSuisCharlie, as users of social media stood up for the slain Merabet.
Information that Merabet was Muslim spread quickly on social media, where users praised him as a hero and, in some cases, a potent symbol in the debate that terrorists shouldn't be confused with Muslims.
Here are some examples:
#JeNeSuisPasCharlie because I will not use free speech to ridicule a culture, but #JeSuisAhmed because I defend that free speech
I, a Muslim, was killed protecting ur right to express yourself, only for u to now use it to call for hate against my people? #JeSuisAhmed
I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed
Merabet, 40, was an officer at the police precinct in Paris' 11th Arrondissement, said Rocco Contento, an official with another police union, who knew Merabet.
"He was a nice person, very likable, always with a smile and very professional," Contento said. "His colleagues are all very shocked by what happened."
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