Dhe beheading of a teacher on Friday near a school in the suburbs of Paris caused great consternation in France. According to the prosecutor, the perpetrator is an 18-year-old Russian of Chechen origin who lived as a refugee in France.
The attacker Abdullah A., who was shot dead by the police near the crime scene northwest of Paris, has not yet been prosecuted in France or recorded for radicalization.
In connection with the attack, nine people were taken into police custody as of Saturday. Among the arrested were the grandparents, parents and a 17-year-old brother of the assassin, said the anti-terrorist prosecutor of France.
The father of a student who is said to have argued with the 47-year-old history teacher about his lessons was also taken into custody. The man had complained on the Internet that the teacher had shown his students naked Mohammed cartoons. The half-sister of the arrested person is said to have moved to Syria for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia.
Macron gave a short speech at the scene
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on Friday evening near the crime scene in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine of a “clearly Islamist terrorist attack”. “One of our fellow citizens was murdered today because he was teaching, because he taught students the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not to believe,” said a visibly ailing Macron. “I call on all of our compatriots to stand together, to be united,” said President Macron at the scene. “You won’t get away with it,” he said, referring to violence and terrorists.
The teacher was reportedly assaulted and beheaded on the street on Friday afternoon. The anti-terror prosecutor took over the investigation. The alleged perpetrator, who, according to witnesses, shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) after the crime, was picked up by police in nearby Éragny and shot a short time later. Investigators reported that he was armed with a knife, had a soft gun with plastic bullets and refused to put down his weapons.
The class was about freedom of expression
There is speculation in France about the motive for the crime. The history teacher is said to have shown Mohammed cartoons in class on the subject of freedom of expression. There was also displeasure at the school; the teacher had been threatened, reported Franceinfo. The father of a 13-year-old told France Inter that the teacher asked Muslim students if they wanted to leave the room before showing the pictures. The teacher was not “condescending or disrespectful”.
It was not clear whether the alleged perpetrator was connected to the school. The broadcaster BFM reported on a video that the father of a schoolboy is said to have published on YouTube earlier this month. The video is also said to have been about the Mohammed cartoons.
“Islamism is waging a war against us: we have to force it out of our country,” responded right wing politician Marine Le Pen on Twitter. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer wrote on the net of an attack on the republic: “Our unity and determination are the only answer to the enormity of Islamist terrorism.” To attack a teacher means to attack all French citizens and freedom, wrote the President of the National Assembly , Richard Ferrand, on Twitter.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also condemned the fatal attack. “We must never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terror, extremism and violence,” Maas wrote on Twitter on Saturday. Von der Leyen emphasized the importance of teachers in democracy.
Again and again Islamist attacks in France
Only a few weeks ago there was a knife attack in front of the former editorial building of the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris. Two people were injured – here too, the investigators assume a terrorist background. There was a fatal attack on the editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” in January 2015, in which a total of 17 people were killed. At the beginning of the trial against the alleged helpers of the terror series, the magazine had published cartoons of Mohammed again and was threatened with massive threats. The perpetrator of the knife attack stated that he could not bear this.
The trial in Paris has been running since the beginning of September, and you can only enter the Palace of Justice under high security conditions. A verdict is expected in November. The editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” expressed their condolences to the relatives of the killed teacher.
A man was beheaded in an Islamist-motivated attack in 2015. A 35-year-old was overwhelmed while trying to cause explosions in an industrial gas plant in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon. He had previously beheaded his employer and stuck his head with two Islamist flags on the factory fence.
France has been rocked by Islamist attacks for years – more than 250 people died. Therefore, people are almost always aware of the threat of terrorism. The French government has made the fight against terrorism a top priority and continues to warn that the risk of terrorist attacks is very high.