French president Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that a street beheading near Paris was “an Islamist terrorist attack” perpetrated against an educator “teaching his students about the freedom of expression”.
The unnamed victim, reported to be a teacher of history and geography, is said to have been targeted because he showed images of the Islamic prophet — Muslims were said to have been asked in advance to leave if they might be offended — during a “moral and civil education” class centred on freedom of speech and expression.
“One of our countrymen was assassinated because he was teaching, because he was teaching his students about the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Macron said at a press conference near the scene of the attack in Conflans-Saint-Honorine (Yvelines).
“Our compatriot was cowardly attacked and was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack, ” the French president continued.
“It’s not a coincidence if tonight a teacher was struck, because the terrorist wanted to attack the values of the public, its light, the possibility to make our children, no matter where they come from, no matter what they believe or not believe, no matter what their religion is, to make them free citizens.
“This battle is our battle and its an existential one,” he warned.
Déclaration après l’attaque terroriste de Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. https://t.co/kRtDv7Y8pv
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 16, 2020
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the terrorist was an 18-year-old Chechen migrant, and that a Twitter user posting under the username @Tchetchene_270 had shared an image of the teacher’s severed head shortly after the attack, with the message: “In the name of Allah, the most merciful… to Macron, the leader of the infidels, I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Muhammad, calm his fellow human beings before a harsh punishment is inflicted on you.”
The perpetrator, armed with an airsoft gun and a bladed weapon, was fatally shot by police officers a short distance from the scene of the killing not long afterwards, after acting in a threatening manner.
Another six other people are in custody as of Saturday morning, all, according to judicial sources, from the Chechen community.
France: One in Four Young Muslims Refuse to Condemn Charlie Hebdo Terror Killings https://t.co/VRZVGvF3MB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 3, 2020
The caricatures of the Islamic prophet shown in the slain teacher’s class are said to have come from the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, which was targeted by Islamist gunmen in 2015.
Twelve people including a police protection officer and a building maintenance worker were slain in the massacre, which has been back in the public eye in recent weeks as a number of people believed to be connected to the crime stand trial.
Just last month a Pakistani migrant badly injured two people unconnected to Charlie Hebdo with a meat cleaver outside its former offices, as retribution for its decision to republish the offending caricatures to mark the beginning of the trial.
It is claimed that the migrant’s father told reporters in his native country that he was “proud” of the attack, and asked the government to assist him.
“I am asking the Pakistani government to bring my son home. He served Islam and we are a Muslim country,” he is alleged to have said.
Charlie Hebdo Journalist: ‘Islam Must Submit to Criticism’ https://t.co/9788GSlcYo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 24, 2018