Boucha Bagour apologized during a second court appearance in southern France Wednesday for sending her three-year-old son, Jihad, to school wearing a shirt emblazoned with the phrase “I am a bomb,” Sky News reports.
And if that wasn’t controversial enough, the back of the shirt also bears the words, “Jihad, born September 11.” Bagour appeared in court alongside her brother, Zeyad Bagour, who gave the shirt to his nephew as a gift and said he “had no intention to provoke or shock.”
But the shirt certainly alarmed school officials at Jihad’s preschool in the town of Sorgues in southern France who alerted local authorities after spotting the controversially clad toddler in class.
“For me, this is the name of my son and his date of birth,”Bagour said, defending her decision in court. The mother provided her son’s official records to support her statement. The turn of phrase plays on the French saying, “Je suis la bombe,” which is slang for “I am the best,” Sky New notes. The two are charged with condoning a crime over the alleged reference to the 9/11 attacks in 2001, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Bagour said in her apology that she thought the people might view the shirt as comical. Following the incident, town mayor Thierry Lagneau, a member of the conservative UMP party, requested an investigation.
Lawyer Claude Avril said in court, “Idiocy is often the best alibi to hide the real intentions.”
“The most scandalous thing is that they’ve used and manipulated a three-year-old child to voluntarily convey the words of a terrorist.”
Bagour and her brother maintain they had no intention to cause controversy. The mother faces a fine of about $1,300 and her brother would be fined around $3,900 if found guilty. The decision is set for April 10.