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France pays tribute to beheaded teacher

Monitoring Desk

Police have carried out dozens of raids since the crime, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris, and dissolved the Sheikh Yassin Collective, a group they say support Hamas.

France has charged two teenagers, accused of pointing out French teacher Samuel Paty to his killer who beheaded him, with complicity in terrorist murder, as the nation paid homage to the slain educator.

“We will not give up cartoons,” President Emmanuel Macron said at a solemn ceremony on Wednesday at the Sorbonne university in Paris attended by Paty’s family, who was targeted for having shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in a civics class discussion on free speech early this month.

The president gave France’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, to Paty and said he had been slain by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.

Earlier Wednesday anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said the two teenagers – aged 14 and 15 – had been in a group of pupils who shared $356-$414 (300-350 euros) offered by the killer to help find Paty.

The two stayed with the killer, Chechnya-born 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, for more than two hours waiting for Paty even after he told them he wanted to “humiliate and strike” him over the Mohamed caricatures, seen as offensive by many Muslims, Ricard said.

Anzorov then killed Paty as he made his way home on foot from the junior high school where he taught in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine outside Paris.

The pair are among seven people authorities have charged over the killing.

The parent of one of Paty’s pupils, who started the social media campaign against the teacher even though his daughter was not in class when the cartoons were shown, was also charged with the same offence as the two teenagers, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said late on Wednesday.

Paty had been the subject of an online hate campaign since showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during class on free speech, the same images that sparked a bloody assault on the officials of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when they were originally published five years ago.

Seven people, including two minors, will appear before an anti-terrorism judge on Wednesday for possible indictments in Paty’s case, a judicial source told AFP. Nine other people were freed Tuesday evening.

The killer, Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old originally from the Russian region of Chechnya, was shot dead by police shortly after the assault.

Government extends action

Police have carried out dozens of raids since the crime, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris and dissolved the Sheikh Yassin Collective, a group they said supported Hamas.

The Palestinian group said on Wednesday it had “no links” with the French organisation founded by Abdelhakim Sefrioui who is in custody over Paty’s murder.

The French government has earmarked for dissolution more than 50 other organisations it accuses of having links to militancy.

“Our fellow citizens expect actions,” Macron said on Tuesday, promising that the government will intensify a crackdown on “radical Islam.”

French solidarity 

Paty’s beheading was the second knife attack in the name of avenging the Prophet Mohammed since the Charlie Hebdo trial started last month.

The killing has prompted an outpouring of emotion and solidarity in France, with tens of thousands taking part in rallies countrywide over the weekend.

Thousands more took part in a silent march in the teacher’s honour in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Tuesday.

Muslim leaders across France have condemned the murder, stressing that extremists abuse religion for their goals and their actions cannot be justified through Islam.

Community leaders also expressed their concern that the recent attack would again stigmatize French Muslims and inflame Islamophobic sentiments.

France’s sports ministry said on Wednesday that participants in all professional sporting events this weekend – football, basketball, handball, rugby and ice hockey and volleyball – would observe a pre-match minute of silence for Paty, and wear black armbands for matches scheduled for next week.

Meanwhile, French police have launched an investigation after two women were stabbed near the Eiffel Tower.

The Two Muslim women were reportedly reportedly attacked by white female attackers in a suspected Islamophobic incident.

Courtesy: TRT World

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