French teacher beheaded for showing Prophet Mohammad cartoons in class after student complains to parents
Ten days after the incident, where he invited students to critic and discuss the cartoon, he was stabbed and beheaded by 18-year-old Chechen gunman Aboulakh
The French teacher who was beheaded by a suspected Islamist terrorist was identified on October 17 as Samuel Paty. According to media reports, he was killed after he started a discussion in class where he showed his students cartoons lampooning Prophet Mohammed. Ten days after the incident, where he invited students to critic and discuss the cartoon, he was stabbed and beheaded by 18-year-old Chechen gunman Aboulakh A in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine 25 miles north-west of Paris.
Just days before the teacher was murdered, one of the students' parents had taken offense to Paty's approach and a mosque had shared a video that identified Paty's actions as deplorable. According to a report in Daily Mail, Paty had asked students who identified as Muslims to leave the classroom while he showed cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine, to educate about free speech. Charlie Hebdo is the same magazine that was targeted by militants five years ago.
The cartoon reportedly showed Prophet Mohammed crouching with a star drawn on his buttocks and the inscription read, 'A star is born'. The teacher had informed his class that any student in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine who identified as a Muslim should leave the class as such a portrayal might be deemed offensive. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemy.
One student who had remained in class by mistake had become a part of the lesson and the 13-year-old then informed their parents regarding the same. This resulted in a meeting with Paty, the school principal and an official from the education authority after an official complaint against him was filed by the parents.
After this, Brahim Chnina, the parent of the 13-year-old, took to Twitter to express his outrage and told his community that they should actively file a complaint again Paty. In the video, he was heard saying, "If you want to join forces and say 'stop, don't touch our children, then send me a message.' This thug should not remain in the national education system, should no longer teach our children. He should go educate himself."
The video went viral and resulted in community outrage, and a mosque in Pantin, a Parisian suburb, also shared the video. Days later, the teacher was attacked and killed by Russian national Aboulakh, who shouted 'Allahu Akbar' during the attack. The suspect was reportedly shot dead 600 yards from the murder spot when he refused to drop his weapons and threatened the officers. The anti-terrorist prosecutors in Paris also concluded that the murder of the teacher was "a murder linked to a terrorist organisation".
According to judicial sources, nine people have been arrested including the parents of the 13-year-old who slammed Paty. Five people who are held in custody are believed to belong to the suspect's Islamist social circle and this includes his grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother.
French President Emmanuel Macron denounced this terrible attack and addressed it as an "Islamist terrorist attack". He said, "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."
This attack comes at a time when Macron is working on a bill to address Islamic radicals who officials claim are creating a parallel society outside French values. This comes as the country now has the highest Muslim population in Western Europe. Islam is the country's second-largest followed religion.
Macron added, "It was no coincidence that the terrorist killed a teacher because he wanted to kill the Republic and its values. The Enlightenment, (is) the possibility to make our children, wherever they come from, whatever they believe in, whether they believe or not, whatever their religion, to turn them into free citizens. This battle is ours and it is existential. They will not pass. Obscurantism and the violence that goes with it will not win. They will not divide us. That's what they seek and we must stand together."