By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – France is mourning a middle school teacher who was beheaded in a Paris suburb Friday, after showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Authorities said French police killed the knife-wielding teenager and detained several people.
Hours later, grieving relatives and residents were laying flowers Saturday at the College du Bois d'Aulne secondary school in the town of Conflans Sainte-Honorine.
They mourned the loss of 47-year-old Samuel Paty, the school’s much-loved history and geography teacher, who was beheaded nearby. Police shot dead the alleged attacker, who was identified as an 18-year-old of Chechen origin.
The suspect was reportedly furious that teacher Paty had shown pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that Muslims consider blasphemous.
Paty used the caricatures as part of a lesson on freedom of expression, Worthy News learned. The cartoons were first published five years ago by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. That prompted Islamic terrorists to attack its offices, killing a dozen people.
A trial is currently underway in Paris over the 2015 Islamist assault, which inspired other militants to carry out similar attacks. Three weeks ago, a man knifed and seriously wounded two people outside Charlie Hebdo’s former offices.
After Friday's beheading of the teacher, French President Emmanuel Macron rushed to the scene to express his outrage about what he views as Islamist terrorism. "One of our citizens was murdered today because he taught students about freedom of expression. The liberty to believe and not to believe," Macron said.
"Our compatriot was flagrantly attacked. He was a victim of an Islamist terrorist attack."
The teacher had reportedly upset Muslims at the school after learning of his intention to show one or more of Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons.
Law enforcement authorities said they detained some nine people, including parents of a child, on suspicion of involvement in Friday's attack.
Reacting to Friday's murder, Charlie Hebdo wrote on its Twitter website: "Intolerance just reached a new threshold and seemed to stop at nothing to impose terror in our country."
The violence was adding to tensions in France, where people face several terror attacks in recent years, killing hundreds.
Amid ongoing terrorism, President Macron has unveiled plans for combating what ”Islamist separatism.”
He warned this month that Islam is “a religion that is in crisis all over the world,” with problems that stem from a “very strong hardening” of positions among Muslims.
The standoff comes while his government also encounters unrest over coronavirus restrictions that officials say are to combat an increase in COVID-19 cases.
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