Mohamed, a Toulouse construction worker in his 30s, noted Merah reportedly turned to radicalism after being rejected twice by the army. "You think that's only because of the dumb things he did as a kid?" he asked. "Your name and the color of your skin also count."
Mohamed said divisions in French society were widening. "There are also big tensions between the communities," he said, referring to Muslims and Jews. "This sort of event, given how it's distorted in the media, will make that worse."
Dray said Jews had encountered prejudice in the past from French anti-Semites but now suffered it mostly "from the Islamists" and said it had got worse over the years.
"They talk about being brothers, but they are only brothers among themselves and full of hatred for Jews and everyone else."
Roger, a 50-year-old supporter of the anti-immigrant National Front, said violence, crime and the number of mosques had all been on the rise for years in Toulouse.
"In France, we keep a lid on things," he said. "But I'll tell you one thing; France is at a boiling point, and some day, it's going to explode."
Amairi Messaoud, 55, a Tunisian-born fast-food restaurant manager in Le Raincy, had more confidence in his non-Muslim neighbors: "I don't think it will affect relations, not in France, because the French know what Islam is really about."