In a shocking development, a history teacher who opened a discussion with students on the caricatures of Islamic Prophet Muhammad was beheaded on a street on Friday (16 October), reports Times of India.
The incident took place in the French town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, located in Val d'Oise region in the northwest of Paris. Following this, the police swung into action, killing the suspect in adjoining Eragny town. As per the police, the suspect was shot dead after he failed to respond to the orders to put down his arms and instead acted in a threatening manner.
The victim was a 47-year-old history-geography professor – the subjects are taught together in France – but also gave the obligatory courses in “moral and civil education”. While teaching the students, aged 12 to 14, about the Freedom of Speech, the teacher showed them the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. This sparked complaints from a number of parents and one family lodged a legal complaint, reports Guardian.
The 18-year-old Moscow-born suspect is said to have shared photos of the attack on social media.
French anti-terrorism prosecutor has also opened an investigation for the murder of the teacher with a suspected terrorist motive.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack and that France’s battle against Islamic terrorism was “existential” and that the victim had been “assassinated”.
“One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught. He taught his students about freedom of expression, freedom to believe or not believe. It was a cowardly attack. He was the victim of a terrorist Islamist attack,” Macron was quoted as saying.
Macron said the killer sought to “attack the republic and its values”. “This is our battle and it is existential. They [terrorists] will not succeed … They will not divide us.”
Meanwhile, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also took to Twitter and said that it was France itself which was attacked.
The attack comes at a time when the French President is pushing for a new law to crack down on what he has called 'domestic separatism' because of Islamic radicals who are accused of indoctrinating vulnerable people through home schools, extremist preaching and other such activities.
It should also be noted that France is home to the largest Islamic community in all of Western Europe, making up the nation's second-largest religion by population.
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