Samuel Paty, the Secondary school teacher beheaded on Friday outside Paris for showing Muhammad cartoons in class to his students, “he embodied the Republic in the noblest thing: his school,” French Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Saturday. “He has been cowardly murdered by the enemies of freedom,” added Blanquer. “Precisely because the Republic is strong thanks to those who make it up and serve it, it will never back down from any terrorism or intimidation,” said the politician.
Blanquer announced that the November 2, date of return to school for French students after the autumn school holidays, a minute of silence will be observed in all schools in France in honor of this teacher beheaded when leaving class. The crime has shocked the French, who have seen Islamist terrorism hit the country once again. His assassination, classified by the president, Emmanuel Macron, as an “Islamist terrorist attack”, has been considered by politicians of all ideology as an attack on the values of the French Republic, especially secular and egalitarian public education, and against freedom of expression. “Not pass. The dark ages will not win, “Macron said on Friday.
47-year-old Paty was killed for teaching the Muhammad cartoons published by the satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in a class on freedom of expression, prompting complaints from some parents of Muslim students. Blanquer considers that the teacher had a “right” to teach the cartoons in class.
The murderer, who was killed by the police shortly after the crime, was not his student. It was called Abdoulakh Abouyezidvitch A. Had 18 years old and born in Moscow, although he was of Chechen origin. In France he had refugee status and was not known to the intelligence services, said the national anti-terrorist prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard. He lived in Évreux, 88 kilometers away from the scene of the crime.
The victim, Samuel Paty, was Professor of Geography and History at the Bois d’Aulne secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, on the outskirts of Paris. He was highly appreciated by the vast majority of his students, who considered him a kind and passionate person of teaching. Students, teachers, politicians and residents of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine paid tribute yesterday by laying flowers at the entrance of the center where he taught. ‘I am a teacher’, ‘I am Samuel’, read the banners they carried, in a nod to the slogan ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) that traveled the world in solidarity with the victims of the 2015 attack against ‘Charlie Hebdo’ and in Defending freedom of expression.
The prosecutor Ricard explained at a press conference that everything seems to indicate that it was a premeditated crime. The murderer appeared in the afternoon at the center where this teacher taught and asked several students to identify his future victim. The murderer had written in the notepad of his mobile phone the text he posted on Twitter shortly after the crime along with a photo of the beheaded victim. The terrorist branded Macron a “leader of the infidels.” And he explained that he had wanted revenge on the professor because “he dared to belittle Muhammad.” His Twitter account was suspended on Friday.
Nine people, one of them a minor, were detained this Saturday in the framework of the investigation open after the attack. They include several relatives of the murderer. Also under arrest is the father of a 13-year-old student of Paty’s who posted a video on Facebook complaining that he had shown the Muhammad cartoons in class. This man published the name of the teacher and the school on that social network and encouraged them to “say stop.”
The National Antiterrorist Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation on Friday for “murder in connection with a terrorist organization and criminal association.” The investigation should make it possible to determine if the murderer acted alone or if he had accomplices.
The satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, the teachers’ unions and the SOS Racisme organization have invited the French to demonstrate this Sunday “In support of teachers, for freedom and against terrorism.” In turn, the Elysee Palace announced that next Wednesday a national tribute will be paid to Samuel Paty.
This crime occurred three weeks after a Pakistani man attacked two workers of a television production company with a knife in front of the former premises of ‘Charlie Hebdo’. The 25-year-old attacker was unaware that the weekly had moved to other locations after the 2015 attack. According to the investigation, he was angry that the weekly had republished the cartoons of Muhammad coinciding with the start of the trial for the attacks by January 2015.