The attack took place on the outskirts of Conflans Saint-Honorine, northwest of the center of the French capital. Around five o’clock in the afternoon, the attacker attacked another man near one of the local schools. Agenutra Reuters reports that one of the witnesses heard the perpetrator shout Allah akbar (Arabic God is great). Police are investigating the case as a terrorist attack.
“Now the police are investigating whether anyone did not know about the crime yet, whether they did not cooperate with the perpetrator,” specifies the CT correspondent in France, Jan Šmíd. The perpetrator announced his intention on social networks just before the attack. The young man had a police record for petty offenses, but was not in search of radicalism.
The victim of the attack is a 47-year-old high school history teacher who recently lectured students about freedom of speech, showing them cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The killer attended this school as a student.
Police first detained four people, one of whom was a minor. Five other people were arrested on Saturday night: among them are relatives of the alleged perpetrator and people from his surroundings. One of those arrested is the student’s father, who criticized the teacher for showing cartoons in the video on social networks, Šmíd describes.
The daily Le Monde writes that the lecture aroused resentment among other parents. On October 5, they filed a criminal complaint against the teachers for distributing pornographic material. The daily also claims that the attacker was not a pupil of the murdered man, nor did he attend the school where the teacher worked.
“As far as I know, the teacher had a bad idea when he asked Muslim students to leave the classroom if they were to feel shocked by going to lecture on the Prophet Muhammad and probably show some pictures,” said MP Michele de Vaucouleurs. (Democratic movement).
Macron denounced the attack as Islamist terrorism
French President Emmanuel Macron said the attacker was aiming for freedom of expression. “A citizen was murdered today because he was a teacher and because he taught freedom of speech,” the president said on Friday, adding that it was Islamist terrorism. “The whole country is behind its teachers. The darkness and the violence that accompanies it will not win. Terrorists will not divide us. That is what they are striving for, and we have to stick together, “he added.
The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, described the act as an attack on the French Republic. “Our unity and vigor are the only answers in the face of the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism,” he said.
Speaking with teachers’ unions, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the murder was an attack on the freedom of teaching and the fundamental values of the French Republic. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also expressed her condolences and solidarity with teachers on Twitter.