VIDEO: ‘Charlie Hebdo attackers are not real Muslims’ says NI-based Algerian

A Muslim student was among those attending a vigil on Thursday afternoon to victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and declared that those behind it cannot call themselves followers of Islam.

Amine Bekkadja is originally from Oran in Algeria, an overwhelmingly-Muslim north African country.

Amine Bekkadja, 32, from Oran, Algeria, now studying in Belfast

Amine Bekkadja, 32, from Oran, Algeria, now studying in Belfast

Today he is studying English at Belfast Metropolitan College, and was joined by two friends outside Belfast City Hall at the protest against the attack – suspected to have been carried out by men of Algerian descent.

“We need to fight against these people who are doing these crimes,” the 32-year-old told the News Letter, while holding up one of the black-and-white signs expressing solidarity with the victims.

Asked about his own faith, he said: “Muslims shouldn’t do this.

“Muslims should be positive, pray, work good, donate to charity... These people aren’t really Muslims. So I’m against them.

“The religion has never said for us, never taught us to do this... I am against this. I am Muslim, but I am against what happened in France.”

Algeria, a former French colony, has an extremely violent history, and it population have suffered heavily from terrorist attacks in the past.

In a single year – 1995 – 24 journalists were killed in the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

It total, the US-based group lists 60 such killings in Algeria between the present day and 1992.

According to the CPJ, last year saw 61 killings of journalists across the whole globe.

Mr Bekkadja said Algerians are “familiar” with such atrocities as the one in Paris, adding: “France and Algeria, we have a little bit [of] the same culture. We grew up with them, so we know each other really good. We have really good connections.”