She is the mother of Imad Ibn Ziaten who was the first victim of Mohamed Merah on March 11, 2012.
Since then, she has crisscrossed France to alert young people to the dangers of religious fundamentalism and to talk about the association she created, Imad pour la jeunesse et pour la paix.
Latifa Ibn Ziaten was born in Tetouan, Morocco on 1 January 1960. Married at the age of 17 in Morocco, she followed her husband to France to settle and set up a family. When she arrives in the country, Latifa comes up against a completely different world and tries to adapt to the cultural and social differences of this new country. Through beautiful encounters, she gradually understands what it means to “live in France” and progressively integrates into society.
Dynamic and brave, Latifa wishes to learn to write and speak French when she arrives in France. She also looks for a job because she felt she needed to become self-sufficient, and thus not to be confined to the role of a stay-at-home mother. She wants to open herself to others, learn and move forward in this new life. Mother of 5 children, including 4 boys and one girl, she educates her children in the same way and forces boys, for example, to participate in housekeeping duties.
Latifa is very committed to school institution and eager to transmit her double culture to her children. She wants them to succeed and to be aware of the chance – she did not have – to be able to study and thus give themselves the opportunity to make their dreams come true. She sees her children grow up until the tragedy that plunges her family into mourning on March 11, 2012.
Mohammed Merah – an Islamist terrorist – murdered 7 people in March 2012, the first of whom was Latifa’s son, Imad Ibn Ziaten. Her life was turned upside down, after having solidly built her family, where each one had a particular place in his heart. Since then, she refused to fall into despair and founded an association 40 days after the drama, in order to help those who made her suffer.
In her own words, the motto of her approach is : “Merah, never again!”.
She undertakes this challenge with immense empathy for Youth and with great bravery to overcome this tragedy.