French Premier Emmanuel Macron has condemned the beheading of a teacher in north-western suburb of Paris as an “Islamist terrorist attack”. The teacher killed had reportedly shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students. The attacker was shot dead by police after committing the beheading. Macron said the unnamed teacher met the cruel fate because he taught his pupils “freedom of expression”.
“They won’t win… We will act,” the president delivered from the scene. The incident happened at about 15:00 GMT (17:00 local time) near a school. Law enforcement agencies have launched an investigation into the attack. The knife carrying attackers was shot while resisting the arrest from police after carrying the brutal attack. Police have not disclosed the personal details about the killer. Meanwhile, a trial is currently pending in a Paris court over a 2015 Islamist assault on the French satirical publisher Charlie Hebdo which came under a violent attack for publishing the cartoons that raised a huge controversy in Muslim world. 3 weeks ago, an assailant attacked the two people outside the magazine’s former offices and injured them.
What happened with the Teacher?
A man wielding a large knife assaulted a teacher in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine as he walked in the street and chopped his head of his body. According to the witnesses present at the sight of the gruesome murder, the attacker chanted the Muslim slogan “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is Greatest”, according to the reports of Reuters news agency.
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The attacker inviting the police chase attempted to ran off the site with Law enforcement officers meaning to confront him in the adjoining district of Éragny. When the police ordered him to surrender, he refused go give himself up and threatened the police who then shot him and he was succumbed to death shortly after. Police have now cordoned off the crime scene and have begun the investigation. Four people, including a minor who happened to be the relatives of the attacker are in the custody of anti-terror prosecutors, an AFP source reported quoting a judicial source.
Police have made a tweet in French, calling on the public to not go to the site of the attack. A local news channel BFMTV reported that the alleged attacker was an 18-year Moscow-born youth.
The Victim of the attack
A local publisher Le Monde reported that the victim was a teacher of history and geography and had been lecturing his pupils about the freedom of expression while making a reference of Prophet Muhammad cartoons which caused a huge uproar among the Muslim communities of France and Europe when Charlie Hebdo published them. The teacher had reportedly advised the Muslim learners in the class to leave the room if they are offended by the talk.
Earlier this month, some Muslim parents complained to the school administration about the teacher using the cartoons as an aid to deliver his lecture on the free speech. The beheaded teacher was discussing the Charlie Hebdo trial with his class.
According to my son, he was super nice, super friendly, super kind,” said Nordine Chaouadi, a parent of a student who attended the Civics class taken by the decapitated teacher while talking to AFP news agency.
Reacting to the incident, Charlie Hebdo tweeted: “Intolerance just reached a new threshold and seems to stop at nothing to impose terror in our country.”
France has seen a flurry of violent attacks and shooting sprees since the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the death of 12 people including famous cartoonists.
Reaction in France
According to French President Emmanuel Macron, the killing is substantiated as “an Islamist terrorist attack,” the Premier said while talking to French press.
“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression,” he said.
In the National Assembly deputies stood up from their benches in honor of the victim on Friday and condemned the “atrocious terror attack”. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin who was in Morocco on a trip, is on his way back to Paris after the attack. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer saw the beheading of a teacher as an attack on the France. In his tweet (translated from French), he said:
“Tonight, it is the Republic that is under attack with the vile assassination of one of its servants, a professor. I think tonight of him, of his family. Our unity and firmness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism. We will face.”