A man has stabbed to death a high school history teacher in France who showed his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that Muslims consider blasphemous, French officials said Friday. The attacker was shot and killed in a residential area northwest of Paris late Friday afternoon by a police patrol a few blocks from the site of the attack.
“One of our fellow citizens was murdered today for teaching, teaching students about freedom of expression,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the scene of the attack. “Our fellow countryman was blatantly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack,” Macron said.
The incident had echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, creating a division that still casts a veil over French society. The victim of Friday’s attack suffered multiple knife wounds to the neck, according to a police representative. A law enforcement source said the teacher had been decapitated in the attack.
French broadcaster BFMTV reported that the suspected attacker was 18 years old and born in Moscow. A police source said witnesses had heard the attacker shout “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is greatest.” A police spokesman said the information was being checked.
The attack took place in the street in front of the high school where the victim worked, in the Conflans Sainte-Honorine suburb. CIVICS LES
Earlier this month, according to reports in French media, the murdered teacher had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to students as part of a social studies lesson on freedom of speech. A Twitter thread posted on Oct. 9 contained a video of a man who said his daughter, a Muslim, was one of the students in the class and that she was shocked and upset by the teacher’s actions.
Insisted the man in the video Twitter users to file a complaint with the authorities and remove the teacher from his post. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the video. France has experienced a series of violent attacks by Islamist militants in recent years, including the 2015 Charlie Hebdo killings, and November 2015 bombings and shootings at the Bataclan Theater and sites around Paris where 130 people died.
Less than a month ago, a man from Pakistan used a carving knife to attack and injure two people who were on a cigarette break outside the offices where Charlie Hebdo was stationed at the time of the 2015 attack. The cartoons issue became new last month revived when Charlie Hebdo decided to republish them to mark the start of the trial of accomplices in the 2015 attack.
Al-Qaeda, the militant Islamist group that claimed responsibility for those murders, threatened to attack Charlie Hebdo again after it republished the cartoons. The magazine said last month that it published to assert its right to freedom of expression, and to show that it would not be silenced by violent attacks. That view has been supported by many prominent French politicians and public figures.
In response to Friday’s attack outside the school, Charlie Hebdo wrote to her Twitter account: “Intolerance has crossed a new threshold and does not seem to be a reason for imposing terror on our country.”
- A man has stabbed to death a high school history teacher in France who showed his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that Muslims consider blasphemous, French officials said Friday.
- Teacher stabbed to death in France after showing class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed