Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

'It's Not Islam': 2 Friends Represent A Wounded France


Paris is both a French city and a multicultural city. As Parisians try to make sense of what happened on Friday, reporter Lauren Frayer met two friends of different backgrounds sharing their grief.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: On a normal working day, Christophe Mocko and Cyril Silva sit next to each other in the marketing department at Air France. They're good friends, so when their office was closed to mourn victims of the Paris attacks, they decided to hang out on their day off. They check out a sports footwear store, but Christophe says they just can't distract themselves from the trauma of Friday's attacks.

CHRISTOPHE MOCKO: We are actually in a state of war, I presume. We have been attacked in our deep hearts. They wanted to shoot French people. It could be me, my friend or yourself.

FRAYER: His friend Cyril is wearing a French soccer jersey for national solidarity because he's especially scared about a backlash.

CYRIL SILVA: I am Muslim. It's not Islam that attack for Paris.

FRAYER: He says he thinks his religion needs to rid itself of evil elements. His friend Christophe jumps in, saying his religion, Christianity, had to do the same thing in the Middle Ages after the Crusades.

MOCKO: Which were some kind of form of a jihad, right? We had the same problem before, and we not considered us terrorists now, right?

FRAYER: They launch into a debate about theology and history - two 22-year-olds outside a sporting goods store. And they realize they are France right now.

MOCKO: He's black. I'm white. Let's say this person is purple, yellow, blue. We are the same part of the same melting pot.

FRAYER: Christophe's heritage is Polish. Cyril's is West African. They're both second-generation immigrants, just like the Paris attackers. But Christophe says he and his buddy are proudly French.

MOCKO: We are French. We love the taste of coffee in the morning. We love eating croissants. We are living our life. If you don't like this country, get the - out of here.

FRAYER: They're angry about people who choose not to accept modern day France and choose extremism instead. For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer in Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.