An eight-year-old in Nice, known only as Ahmed, was accused of "defending terrorism" when he refused to take part in a minute silence in homage to those killed at Charlie Hebdo.


According to French magazine L’Express, the youngster, who refused to hold hands with his fellow peers, said: “I’m not Charlie. I’m with the terrorists.”


The director of the young boy’s school in Nice then filed a complaint with the police, who questioned him and his father for at least half an hour on suspicion of “defending terrorism”.


According to the family’s lawyer, Sefen Guez Guez, Ahmed doesn't even know what terrorism was: “He admits to having said it, but he doesn’t understand what it means. When a policeman asked him what ‘terrorism’ meant, he couldn’t give an answer.”


In wake of the incident, Ahmed has not returned to school and his lawyer said his father was concerned because "children ganged up on his son, who locked himself in the toilet at every recess.”


There have been conflicting reports about what happened from both the police and the Committee Against Islamophobia in France (CCAI), but there have been over 200 reports like this in schools all over the country.


Commissioner Fabienne Lewandoski said that while an eight-year-old can’t be convicted, the police were trying “to learn what pushed this child to say such things,” adding “one may regret that it was done in formal questioning, but given the importance of what he said and the context, it seemed to us we could go further.”


However, the CCAI said that the case “illustrates the collective hysteria into which France has plunged since early January.”