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French Mother On Trial For Sending Her Son, Jihad, To School With 'Bomb' Shirt

Bouchra Bagour, left, leaves a court house with her lawyer Gaelle Genoun.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat
AFP/Getty Images
Bouchra Bagour, left, leaves a court house with her lawyer Gaelle Genoun.

A French mother was in court Wednesday for what she says was a simple birthday celebration but what the government alleges is a clear provocation, an allusion to terrorism.

The BBC reports that Bouchra Bagour, 35, has been charged with "glorifying crime" after she sent her three-year-old son — named Jihad — to school wearing a T-shirt that read "I am a bomb" and "Born on 11 September."

The BBC adds:

"On Wednesday Ms Bagour told the court she had put it on him 'without stopping to think about it.'

"She insisted it was not meant as a provocation and stressed that her son had been born on 11 September.

"Zeyad Bagour, [the boy's uncle,] said he had never sought to defend any cause by buying the T-shirt.

"'It's the day of his birth I wanted to highlight, not the year,' he told the court."

France 24 reports that prosecutors insisted the intention of the shirt was clear.

"Who can claim that this is not a direct and scandalous reference to terrorism?" Olivier Couvignon told the court, according to France 24.

The Daily Mail reports that the "bomb" expression comes from the "popular French saying 'Je suis une bombe', which translates roughly as 'I am the best.'"

A picture posted on the website of Le Parisien shows the little boy wearing a gray, long-sleeved T-shirt. On the back it has his name plus, "Born on Sept. 11." And on the front, it reads, in French, "I am a bomb." (That's the literal translation; we're guessing a case can be made that the English equivalent is "I am the bomb.")

According to France 24, Bagour admitted the shirt was "tactless," but it was not meant as a provocation.

A judge is expected to hand down a judgement in the case on April 10. The prosecutors are calling for a 1,000 euro fine for the mom and a 3,000 euro fine for the uncle.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.