Published: Mon, October 19, 2020

France pays tribute to teacher beheaded by suspected Islamist

France pays tribute to teacher beheaded by suspected Islamist

Demonstrators gathered in central Paris on Sunday, October 18, as part of nationwide rallies in tribute to a history teacher who was beheaded after showing caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad to his class, France 24 reported.

Mr Paty's killing took place while a trial over the Charlie Hebdo attack is under way in Paris.

The killing shocked the country and carried echoes of an attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

"From Abdullah, the servant of Allah, to Macron, the leader of the infidels, I executed one of your hell dogs who dared to belittle Muhammad", the Tweet said.

The Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015 unleashed a wave of Islamist violence and forced France into a national discussion about Islam's place in a secular society. "It is time to take real action to eradicate this danger that comes from within". Commemorative rallies were held in many other cities across France, including Orleans, Toulouse, Lyon and Grenoble, where large crowds of people gathered near the mayoral offices. One posted a video online, releasing Paty's name, calling for his dismissal and filing a complaint against Paty at the police station for "disseminating pornographic images".

French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer on Saturday stressed the need for unity within the education community and more generally, urging French people to show pride in their values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Government officials, including Prime Minister Jean Castex, as well as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the head of the Ile-de-France region, Valerie Pecresse, attended the commemorative event at the Place de la Republique.

Martial, a 16-year-old pupil, said Paty had loved his job: "He really wanted to teach us things".

Police shot the attacker dead minutes after he murdered the 47-year-old history teacher.

The police launched a probe into the murder which was joined by the anti-terrorist prosecution.

Some Muslims believe any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.

The suspect in a gruesome knife attack on a street in suburban Paris was identified as an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee, French anti-terrorism authorities said during a press conference Saturday.

Witnesses said that he was spotted at the school on Friday afternoon asking pupils where he could find Paty.

Nine people, including members of Anzorov's family, were placed in custody in the early hours of yesterday.

Ricard, the prosecutor, did not say if the attacker had any links to the school, pupils or parents, or had acted independently in response to the online campaign. He had fired at police and tried to stab them as they closed in on him.

Locals in the Normandy town of Evreux where the attacker lived described him as low key, saying he got into fights as a child but calmed down as he became increasingly religious in recent years.

The controversy of the cartoons was revived last month when Charlie Hebdo chose to re-publish them to coincide with the start of the trial of accomplices in the 2015 attack.

Speaking Friday night from the middle school, French President Emmanuel Macron said the teacher was the victim of a "outright Islamist terrorist attack".

On Saturday, hundreds of pupils, teachers, parents and sympathizers flooded to Paty's school to lay white roses.

The young man of Chechen origin who killed the teacher was not his student nor did he study at the school where Paty taught. The teacher had reportedly offered students the option of leaving the classroom if they were offended by the images.

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