An 18-year-old man decapitated a history-geography teacher in broad daylight near a school in a suburb north of Paris on Friday. Police shot the 18-year-old dead a few streets away from the scene of the attack late on Friday afternoon.
The teacher, Samuel Paty, had recently shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which led to a terror attack on the publication in 2015.
According to French media reports, the teacher who was killed had earlier this month shown pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a civics lesson dealing with freedom of expression.
A pupil was offended
A Twitter thread posted on October 9 contained a video of a man who said his daughter, a Muslim, was one of the pupils in the class, and that she was shocked and upset by the teacher’s actions.
The man in the video urged Twitter users to complain to the authorities and get the teacher removed from his post. Reuters was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the video.
President Macron responds
“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the scene of the attack.
“Our compatriot was flagrantly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack,” Macron said.
France has seen a wave of Islamist violence since 2015 when they let hundreds of thousands of unvetted Islamists into the country. Anti-terror prosecutors said they were treating the assault as “a murder linked to a terrorist organization.”
The 47-year-old teacher was assassinated as the Chechen Islamist yelled, ‘Allahu Akbar.’
Because he taught students freedom of expression and they wanted to make them free citizens regardless of their religion, Samuel Paty, a history teacher was beheaded in France. Today, we are all #SamuelPaty #Libertedexpression pic.twitter.com/c6TqH3xUDF
— La fée des livres (#WearAMask) (@Lafedeslivres1) October 17, 2020
French police officers shot down chechen jihadi terrorist who beheaded an history Teacher in Paris suburb 👏
Too many warning …
— Harry Boone (@towersight) October 17, 2020
#Francebeheading | In an incident that has appalled France, a history teacher is beheaded.
— WION (@WIONews) October 17, 2020
An enraged parent shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ has been shot dead by French police near #Paris after he beheaded a school teacher with a knife because the history #teacher showed cartoons of Prophet #Mohammad in his class to students. pic.twitter.com/BamQlLh2qH#Paris
— Fly The Flag 🇬🇧 (@Spider_ma012345) October 16, 2020
‘This battle against religious fanaticism is endless”
Caroline Fourest, a prominent French feminist journalist who is a former Charlie Hebdo columnist, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I was very, very shocked. Not that this murder was a surprise – now we have lived for almost eight years under the permanent threat of terrorist attack.
“We are particularly shocked because this attack targets a teacher. In the history of the French Republic, teachers symbolize a very special figure. The one who gives you hope for unity and fraternity.
“Sometimes we have the feeling that this battle against religious fanaticism is endless but the only secret hope we have is that teachers, with their patience and pedagogy, will be able to block and diffuse hatred and fanaticism in the heart of the next generation by making them understand satirical culture, Charlie Hebdo, and freedom of speech. But yesterday a bit of that hope was beheaded.”
She argued those who “dare to” defend secularism and freedom of speech in the country are under great strain.
Ms. Fourest added: “We cannot win a war because it is an asymmetric war, between reason on one side and madness on the other side. You can be patient and precise. You can explain again and again and again.”
Her comments come after two journalists from a film production firm were stabbed with a meat cleaver outside the old offices of Charlie Hebdo three weeks ago.