Another day, another Islamist murder in France — this time, a 49-year-old policewoman fatally stabbed in the neck by a Tunisian man screaming ‘Allahu Akbar.’ She was murdered in her own station, in Rambouillet, 25 miles south of Magnanville, where in 2016 an Islamist stabbed a husband and wife police couple to death in front of their three-year-old child. In the intervening years there have been numerous police officers killed by men of a similar ideology, to the point now where the brutal slaying of a female officer slips down the news pecking order after just one day. Such is the acceptance in France of Islamist terrorism. C’est la vie.
What’s striking, now, is the lack of outrage. The murder did not even lead the French television news. In this weekend’s Sunday Times the lead item on France is about next month’s 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. Apparently the fact Napoleon was linked to the slave trade is more significant than the murder of a woman by the follower of an ideology which, in Iraq five years ago, enslaved thousands of Yazidi women and slaughtered their menfolk
This normalisation of Islamic terrorism echoes the way much of the British media covered the deaths of British soldiers at the height of the Troubles in the 1980s. One solider shot dead was mentioned in passing; it required carnage — such as Hyde Park or Deal — to create headlines. An exception were the deaths of corporals Derek Wood and David Howes in March 1988 when they inadvertently drove into the funeral procession of an IRA member. The pair were dragged from their car, beaten, stripped and shot on a patch of waste ground. The photographs of the faces of their assailants made a lasting impression on my young mind.