That female person of interest in Paris attacks

I know practically nothing about Hayat Boumeddiene — variously described as the “partner,” “common-law wife” and “widow” of Paris kosher-grocery attacker Amedy Coulibaly — but I had several thoughts in quick succession when I read this over the weekend:

French authorities on Saturday were hunting for a woman said to be “armed and dangerous,” who they believe is connected to three days of violence that reached a bloody denouement in twin sieges Friday.hayat-boumediene-e1420918057857

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, may have fled France ahead of the attacks and may now be in Syria, French media reports said Saturday. The reports, which cited unnamed police sources, raised further questions about the attackers’ connections to organized Islamist militant groups.

Boumeddiene, 26, is the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, who on Friday seized a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris, killing four people at the height of pre-Sabbath shopping before being killed himself after an hours-long standoff. A day earlier, he killed a Paris police officer, authorities believe. During the Friday standoff, he said he was affiliated with the Islamic State, which is headquartered in Syria…

The thoughts, such as they are, were:

  • The initial, visceral one: What a lovely young face (despite that jaded look in her eyes). If she is actually a terrorist, what a terrible waste of someone who looks so fresh and innocent. One wants to protect her. (In other words, the male equivalent of the way various women, particularly the motherly sort, viewed the picture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone.)
  • “Armed and dangerous?” What is this, a return to the 70s? Are we back to the days of Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhof, with young women who are every bit as radicalized, unfeeling and violent as the most testosterone-infested young men?
  • This really explodes one of the stereotypes of Islamist terrorists. The caricature is of sexually frustrated young men who can’t get a date, who will do anything to get at those 72 virgins. But at least one of these had a girlfriend.
  • Hold on a minute. We also tend to think of these terrorists as guys who are such devout Muslims that they are psychotically obsessed with what they imagine their religion’s demands to be. But what even mildly devout Muslim lives with a woman without benefit of marriage?

None of which is helpful to the investigation or anything (turns out she wasn’t even in the country at the time of the attack, but it’s understandable that authorities would like to talk with her), but those were the things that occurred to me at the time….

11 thoughts on “That female person of interest in Paris attacks

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Hello? Anyone out there?

    Google Analytics tells me there are people reading my blog right now, including someone in Lille, France.

    But I can’t seem to get any comments, either yesterday or today.

    Has everybody been waiting for life to resume in Columbia with the return of the Legislature, or what?

  2. Bryan Caskey

    Boko Haram (forced? persuaded?) a 10-year-old girl to be a suicide bomber in Nigeria on Saturday, killing 16.

    Was that girl possibly one of the kidnapping victims? And this is after 2,000 people were killed. I would have to say the Nigerian Army’s strategy ain’t working out so well. Then again, the Nigerian Army is probably little more than a palace guard at this point.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      There is such evil in the world. With terrorists from Boko Haram to ISIL, it’s like civilized people are up against the Harkonnens or something…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Actually, that’s a slander against the Harkonnens. Even the monstrous Baron himself would hesitate to commit some of these atrocities (openly, anyway), for fear of drawing the wrath of the Great Houses.

        And after all, was not Muad’Dib himself a Harkonnen by blood?

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Apparently some Muslim terrorists were found to have ordered Islam for Dummies. I heard this on NPR.
    The terrorists are apparently NOT hard core believers. They are piling on for the violence.
    Girls can be just as violent as boys–ask any juvie prosecutor or defense attorney.

  4. David Carlton

    Actually, my understanding is that she was in fact married to Amedy Coulibaly in a religious ceremony, but that they aren’t civilly married. In France, you know, religious and civil marriages are done separately, and it would scarcely be surprising if two devout Muslims hostile to the secular French state would consider a religious marriage legitimate but not a civil one.

  5. Karen Pearson

    It is so sad that these people have been raise in such a violent world that they (apparently) think that if they are violent enough, they will impress people with their message. I don’t think that they realize how much they are alienating the great majority of people, including those who would otherwise be sympathetic to their cause.

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