A discussion about freedom of speech in the classroom ended with stabbings. Now French teachers are scared.

Je suis Samuel – I am Samuel – were the statements of support both outside the school where teacher Samuel Paty worked – and on social media – on Saturday. Photo: Michel Euler / AP / NTB

Oct. 2020 18:48

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Freedom of expression was on the schedule at the French College du Bois d’Aulne a week and a half ago.

History teacher Samuel Paty (47) asked the Muslims in the classroom to raise their hands. They could leave the classroom if they wanted to.

The teacher was to take up the Charlie Hebdo case. The aim was to discuss freedom of expression. Paty announced that he would show a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. It could offend the Muslims in the class, Nordine Chaouadi tells Reuters. He is the father of a 13-year-old student in the class.

To a Muslim, all images of the Prophet Muhammad are blasphemous. Chaouadi’s son is himself a Muslim. He interpreted the teacher’s warning as friendly and respectful.

– The teacher gave notice in advance to protect the children, not to shock them, Chaouadi says.

The 18-year-old asked students to point out a history teacher before…

History teacher and father Samuel Paty worked at a secondary school in Éragny northwest of Paris. One and a half weeks ago, he showed the students a caricature to discuss freedom of expression. On Friday, he was killed on the street.

Others, however, were very upset. Parents complained to the school. A few days later, a meeting was held. The teacher and principal met parents who responded.

“It went smoothly,” Chaouadi told Reuters.

But then the teacher began to receive threats, according to the BBC.

One of the parents in the class published several videos on social media. According to Reuters, the history teacher was hung out like a bully who should be fired.

– 18-year-old was unknown to the intelligence service

On Friday, teacher Samuel Paty was attacked with a knife on the street in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris. The head was cut off.

Before the murder, the suspected perpetrator is said to have asked students at the school to point out the teacher. Prosecutor Jean-François Ricard told Reuters.

The perpetrator is said to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. It is Arabic for “God is greatest”. French police describe the killing as a terrorist attack.

The attacker was shot and killed by police shortly after the knife attack. He was equipped with a knife and softgun and is said to have acted threateningly towards the police.

A source with the French prosecuting authority stated on Saturday that the suspected perpetrator is an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow. He was not known to French intelligence before.

After the murder, a picture of the beheaded teacher was posted on Twitter. The 18-year-old assumes responsibility for the murder here. He also calls President “the leader of the unbelievers.”

According to Reuters, the 18-year-old wrote directly to Macron that he had “executed one of your hell dogs, who dared to offend Mohammed”. The post was quickly removed by Twitter.

The 18-year-old asked students to point out a history teacher before…

also read

The teacher showed Muhammad caricatures in class. On Friday, he was beheaded outside Paris.

Parent of children in class arrested

Nine people have been taken in for questioning after the attack. Among these is the parent who is said to have posted videos about the teacher on social media, reports Reuters.

The suspected terrorist’s 17-year-old brother, parents and grandfather have also been arrested. They were questioned on Saturday.

– Blasphemy is shocking, but legal

Teachers across France have expressed fears after the killing, says BBC correspondent in France Lucy Williamson.

That a colleague is killed in a quiet suburban street is shocking in itself. In addition, the murder is interpreted as an attack on core values ​​in the French education system: the dissemination of freedom, equality and brotherhood.

Jean-Remi Girart is the president of a French teachers’ organization. He says students need to learn that blasphemy is shocking but legal.

“We are in France, in the 21st century, and have a teacher who is beheaded in the street only because he has tried to teach,” Girart told


Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer met with teachers’ organizations in France on Saturday. He stated that it was “enemies of freedom” who killed Paty.

“France will never give in to terror and threats,” he said.

The 18-year-old asked students to point out a history teacher before…

also read

The teacher showed Muhammad caricatures in class. On Friday, he was beheaded outside Paris.

The 18-year-old asked students to point out a history teacher before…

President said on Friday that the attack must not divide France, because that is exactly “what the extremists are looking for”. Photo: Abdulmonam Eassa / AP / NTB

Macron encourages French people to stand together

French President visited the scene on Friday night. Even then, he stated that the attack was an “Islamist terrorist attack”.

– One of our compatriots was killed today because he taught about freedom of speech, the freedom to believe or not believe, said a marked Macron.

He urged the French to stand together and not let the attack divide people.

– That is exactly what the extremists are looking for.

The murder happened while the trial after the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015 is ongoing. The editors of Charlie Hebdo have expressed their disgust on Twitter. It writes that it supports all French teachers.

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