Fright and deep horror in France: once again an attacker struck in the most brutal way because of Mohammed cartoons. The culprit ambushed a teacher in a suburb of Paris and then beheaded him.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said Islamic terrorism has hit the republic at its heart. Several people, including those close to the alleged attacker, have been arrested. Many people across the country wanted to take to the streets on Sunday in solidarity with the dead.
According to prosecutor Jean-François Ricard, the alleged attacker is a man of Russian and Chechen descent, born in 2002. He came to France as a refugee and has had a residence permit since the spring.
Police shot the man shortly after the crime. After the teacher was killed, the attacker posted a photo of the victim on the Internet and sent a message to French President Emmanuel Macron, who he described as the “leader of the infidels”. “I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Mohammed.”
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The incident took place on Friday afternoon in the Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. There, the attacker killed the 47-year-old teacher – his body was found decapitated with numerous wounds on the upper body and head. Investigators also found a blood-stained knife about 12 inches long near the crime scene.
Prosecutor Ricard commented extensively on the alleged background to the crime. The attack was preceded by threats against the teacher and the school. The teacher had taken up the subject of freedom of expression in class in early October. The reason was the re-publication of Mohammed cartoons by the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”. The teacher showed accompanying caricatures in the classroom.
A father then posted messages on social networks, complained to the school management and mobilized against the teacher. According to the media, the father was accompanied to school by a well-known Islamist who, like the father, is now in custody.
Just a few weeks ago, there had been a knife attack on the former “Charlie Hebdo” editorial building in Paris. Two people were injured – here too the perpetrator had given Mohammed cartoons as a motive. In January 2015, a devastating attack on the editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” took place, in which the newspaper’s main cartoonists were murdered.
The trial of alleged helpers of the Islamic terror series is currently underway in January 2015 in Paris, killing a total of 17 people. For security reasons, the editorial team is now in a secret location.
Attack on the division between religion and church
Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer described the act as an attack on the division between religion and church. “There are clearly enemies of the republic, they are against the republic and thus against the school, because the school is the backbone of the republic,” he said. France has a long secular tradition, church and state have been separated for over 100 years. Freedom of religion is also enshrined in the 1958 constitution for the fifth republic.
French President Macron had already spoken of an Islamist terrorist act shortly after the crime. It is no coincidence that a terrorist killed an educator of all people because he wanted to attack the values of the country, said the visibly stricken head of state at the crime scene. A national memorial event is planned, the presidential office said.
In the fight against radical Islamism, Macron had recently focused on education as a central element. Distance education for children who stay at home will be strictly limited from next summer. Lessons are compulsory from three years.
Another person was taken into custody on Sunday. It was a friend of the hitman, the terror prosecutor confirmed. This meant that a total of eleven people were in police custody. The perpetrator was shot by the police. The detainees include people close to the perpetrator as well as people who got into the mood against the teacher.
French President Macron at the crime scene Photo: REUTERS / Charles Platiau
“The school educates the free spirit, enlightened citizens – which is exactly what the Islamists, who live on stupidity, ignorance, indoctrination and hatred, cannot tolerate,” said Interior Minister Marlène Schiappa on Franceinfo.
There was also great international sympathy after the brutal attack. “We should never let terror, extremism and violence intimidate us,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are also with the teachers, in France and all over Europe. Without them there are no civilians. Without them, there is no democracy, ”wrote the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
France has been rocked by Islamic attacks for years – more than 250 people died. That is why people are almost constantly aware of the threat of terrorism. The French government has made the fight against terrorism a priority and continues to warn that the risk of terrorist attacks is very high. (dpa, teaspoon)