For the second time in three weeks, France was struck with an Islamist terror attack. Yesterday, a French school teacher was beheaded by an Islamist terrorist for showing his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The victim has been identified as Samuel Paty.
According to reports, the 47-year-old had received threats before he was stabbed and decapitated by 18-year-old Chechen gunman Aboulakh A in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, around 25 miles north-west of Paris. The terrorist also shouted 'Allahu Akbar' as he launched his attack.
Muslim parents of the students had taken offence at Samuel Paty's decision to show his class caricatures of the Prophet and branded him a 'thug' in a video shared online by a Paris mosque just days before he was murdered. The teacher had 'invited Muslim students out of the classroom' before showing a Charlie Hebdo caricature of the Prophet crouching with a star drawn on his buttocks and the inscription 'A star is born', reported the Daily Mail.
A father of a 13-year-old student at the secondary school in middle-class Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb 25 miles from the centre of Paris, told Reuters Mr Paty had told any Muslim students to leave because the cartoon would likely cause offence. For Muslim fanatics, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
One girl, thought to be Muslim, stayed behind by mistake, and later told her parents. They made a legal complaint to the school and held a meeting with the teacher, school principal and an official from the education authority.
The attacker was shot dead by police about 600 yards from the killing when he refused to drop his weapons and threatened the officers. It is unclear whether the gunman had seen the video.
Following the incident, Islamists across the world justified the gruesome murder of the teacher.
The French President denounced what he called an 'Islamist terrorist attack', claiming: 'One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught the freedom to believe or not believe. He said the attack should not divide France because that is what the extremists want. We must stand all together as citizens.
The French anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive. Four people, one a minor, were detained hours later, the office of anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said without elaborating. Police typically fan out to find family and friends of potential suspects in terror cases.
Macron visited the school where the teacher worked in the town of Conflans-Saint-Honorine and met with staff after the slaying. An Associated Press reporter saw three ambulances at the scene, and heavily armed police surrounding the area and police vans lining leafy nearby streets.
“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught … the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Macron said. He said the attack shouldn’t divide France because that’s what the extremists want. “We must stand all together as citizens,” he said.
(With inputs from Associated Press, Reuters, and DailyMail)