Published 5:12 PM ET Oct 16, 2020 |
A teacher who opened a discussion with students about caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed was beheaded.
PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron denounced what he called an “Islamist terrorist attack” against a history teacher beheaded in a Paris suburb on Friday, urging the nation to remain united against extremism.
The teacher discussed the caricatures of Islam prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said. The suspected attacker was shot to death by police following Friday’s beheading.
The French anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into a murder with a suspected terrorist motive, the prosecutor’s office said.
Macron visited the school where the teacher worked in the town of Conflans-Saint-Honorine and met with staff after the killing. An Associated Press reporter saw three ambulances arrive on the scene and heavily armed police surrounding the area and police vans lining nearby tree-lined streets.
“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught … freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not to believe,” Macron said.
He said the attack shouldn’t divide France because that’s what the extremists want. “We must all be together as citizens,” he said.
The grisly murder of the teacher took place in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine while the suspect was killed by police in nearby Eragny.
A police officer said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun – which fires plastic pellets – was killed about 600 meters from where the male teacher was killed after he failed to respond. orders to lower their arms, and acted threateningly.
French police officers are out of a high school after a history teacher who opened a discussion with students about caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad was beheaded, October 16, 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north. Paris. (Photo: Michel Euler, AP)
The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the caricatures about 10 days ago, the police official told The Associated Press. A student’s parent had filed a complaint against the teacher, another police official said, adding that the suspected killer did not have a child at school. The identity of the suspect was not made public.
The identity of the suspect was not made public. French media reported that the suspect was an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow. It was not possible to confirm this information immediately.
The two officials could not be appointed because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.
“We didn’t anticipate that,” Conflans resident Remi Tell told CNews television station. He described the city as peaceful.
It was the second terror-related incident since the opening of an ongoing trial on the newsroom massacre in January 2015 at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo following the publication of caricatures of the prophet of Islam.
At the beginning of the trial, the newspaper reprinted the caricatures of the prophet to emphasize the right to freedom of expression. Exactly three weeks ago, a young Pakistani was arrested after stabbing two people who had sustained non-fatal injuries outside the newspaper’s former offices. The 18-year-old told police he was angry at the publication of the caricatures.
The incident occurred while Macron’s government is working on a bill to appeal to Islamic radicals who, according to the authorities, are creating a parallel society outside the values of the French Republic.
In the United States, right-wing extremists were responsible for more than 76% of terrorist attacks and plots in 2019, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, DC; 90% in the first half of 2020.
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