French President Emmanuel Macron says the killing of a teacher in Paris who showed caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad to his pupils was an attack on freedom of expression.
“A citizen has been murdered today because he was a teacher and because he taught freedom of expression,” Macron said near the school where the teacher was killed in a suburb northwest of Paris.
He described the attack as Islamist extremism.
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“The whole country stands behind its teachers. Terrorists will not divide France, obscurantism will not win,” he said.
A man armed with a knife killed the teacher by slitting his throat in front of his school in the suburb Conflans Sainte-Honorine.
The attacker was shot dead by a police patrol a few streets away.
A Twitter thread posted on October 9 contained allegations that a middle school history teacher in Conflans Sainte-Honorine had shown pupils cartoons purporting to depict the Prophet Mohammad.
The thread contained a video of a man who said his daughter, a Muslim, was one of the pupils in the class, and that she was shocked and upset by the teacher’s actions.
The man in the video urged Twitter users to complain to the authorities and get the teacher removed from his post.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the video.
French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said he had set up a crisis centre to deal with Friday’s attack.
The incident carried echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
It published caricatures of the prophet, considered by muslims to be blasphemous, unleashing an issue that is still casting a pall over French society.
Less than a month ago, a man originally from Pakistan used a meat cleaver to attack and wound two people who were on a cigarette break outside the offices where Charlie Hebdo was based at the time of the 2015 attack.
© DPA 2020