French police officers gather after a history teacher who opened a discussion with students on caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad was decapitated in a French street on Friday and police have shot the suspected killer dead, Friday in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, north of Paris. Photo: AP
world

Teacher beheaded in France; police shoot dead suspected killer

48 Comments
By ELAINE GANLEY

A suspect shot dead by police after the gruesome beheading of a history teacher in an attack near Paris Friday was an 18-year-old Chechen, police said.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said that authorities investigating the horrific killing of the man in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine have also arrested nine suspects, including the grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother of the attacker.

The teacher had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said.

Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus. Two wars in the 1990s triggered a wave of emigration, with many Chechens heading for western Europe.

France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, believed linked to local criminal activity and score-settling.

A police official said the suspect in Friday's attack armed was shot dead about 600 meters (yards) from where the teacher was killed. He was armed with a knife and an airsoft gun — which fires plastic pellets — and police opened fire after he failed to respond to orders to put down his arms, and acted in a threatening manner. The official could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived quickly at the school on Friday night to denounce what he called an “Islamist terrorist attack.” He urged the nation to stand united against extremism.

“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Macron said.

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive, the prosecutor’s office said.

It is the second time in three weeks that terror has struck France linked to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Last month, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing two people with a meat cleaver outside the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

The weekly was the target of a deadly newsroom attack in 2015, and it republished caricatures of the prophet this month to underscore the right to freedom of information as a trial opened linked to that attack.

Friday’s terror attack came as Macron’s government works on a bill to address Islamic radicals, who authorities claim are creating a parallel society outside the values of the French Republic.

The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the caricatures about 10 days ago, a police official told The Associated Press. The parent of a student had filed a complaint against the teacher, another police official said.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


48 Comments

Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

If the right to be free and voice an opinion in a secular country is being destroyed by the followers of Islam then that religion needs to be constrained and reformed.

If its followers can not suppress the violent minority then what are the options to prevent innocent people being murdered?

There needs to be a debate on this by Muslims and if it is impossible to prevent further killings then Islam in France must be abolished.

30 ( +36 / -6 )

This hateful act will sow seeds of hate and boost the immune system of French fascism. Democratic values are once again under threat and it is to be hoped that the French body politic can suppress the virus of racism and bigotry.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

This is not terrorism in the usual sense the word is bandied about. This is straight up racism, religious and cultural bigotry acted out by a practitioner of the religion of peace. In France for god sake. The epicenter of the enlightenment where criticism and mockery of authority figures was fought and died for. Only a bigot who thinks their religion is above others and the law of the land assumes they have a right to execute summarily those he or she or they deem as transgressors against their god.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

A nightmare for his family...To think this is happening in France, Islamic propaganda is still crawling in the minds of simpleton. The culprit has been shot, but the Chechen community will become the new stigma of racism.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

This is a disgusting reward for a country that brought this person (or his parents) in as refugees.

The culprit has been shot, but the Chechen community will become the new stigma of racism.

Chechnya is a race? Who knew?

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Chechnya is a race? Who knew?

It's a culture, you can apply racism not only to a race but to a culture as well, you know there are expressions such as social racism, cultural racism ? Who knew ?

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Terrible.

Suppressing freedom of expression by religious nuts is increasing all over the world.

There is no place for such acts in a civilized society!!!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

As there are as many sects of Islam as there are of Christianity and Buddhism , requiring muslims to have a conversation about the level of extremist within their total collective ranks is asinine. The person responsible for this crime is no different from ultra right nationalist or ultra left anti-facisit. Both of which use their own religious values as justification for their actions.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

It's a culture, you can apply racism not only to a race but to a culture as well, you know there are expressions such as social racism, cultural racism ? Who knew ?

And given that racism is such an incredibly loose term, it is quite hard to separate from many other things. Defining a "race" is an incredibly hard thing to do. Is it skin colour or skull shape?

Chechens are pretty different from the French, so I think it is fair to call out racism.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This hateful act will sow seeds of hate and boost the immune system of French fascism. Democratic values are once again under threat and it is to be hoped that the French body politic can suppress the virus of racism and bigotry.

Maybe not a great idea to opine about unrealized fears of potential racism while the body of a beheaded teacher and father is still warm. It shows a severe lack of compassion.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The act of an extremely disturbed individual. The left will rush to defend Muslims (rightfully so) but forget how they layed the blame for a few nuts trying to kidnap the governor of Michigan at Trump's feet.

Can we all agree that there are nuts in the world and they will latch onto whatever is happening in society to justify the crazy thoughts in their brains?

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

I hope to see a huge and united outcry from the Muslim communities across France clearly stating that free speech is not negotiable in a civilised country including ridicule of religious figures, and those spreading intolerance of ‘blasphemers’, free speech advocates, gays etc have no place in a civilised country. There has been too much equivocation over this, too much of playing the victim, too much cultural relativism and too much excuse-making from the left on behalf of the intolerant.

Countries like France have sadly become a example to the world of what not to do on immigration and refugees.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Can we all agree that there are nuts in the world and they will latch onto whatever is happening in society to justify the crazy thoughts in their brains?

One ComRes poll result I saw from the UK saw a quarter of Muslims had ‘some sympathy’ with the Charlie Hebdo terrorists.

This is horrific.

.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

It is the time for Muslim communities in France and around the world to condemn this extreme act of terrorism in the strongest terms if they wish Islam to be rightly understood and embraced in countries who have kindly given them new lives.

Remaining silent in this barbaric act would surely persuade the world to shut its doors to future Muslim refugees.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

So, you don’t think black people and white people have different cultures. Got it.

Black and white Americans have more in common than a white American has with a white European or white Australian. Likewise white and black Americans have more in common than a black American has with a black person from Ghana or South Africa. But you have to travel a bit to realize the commonalities Americans share.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Horrific.

It is the time for Muslim communities in France and around the world to condemn this extreme act of terrorism in the strongest terms.

There are plenty of Muslims who repeatedly around the world who denounce such acts of violence.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/orlando-shooting-pulse-nightclub-muslims-condemn-attack/

https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/2015/12/anti-muslim_muslim_terrorists.html

https://ing.org/global-condemnations-of-isis-isil/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-attack-isis-muslim-council-britain-westminster-terror-cowardly-depraved-harun-khan-solidarity-islam-community-a7646201.html

https://mcb.org.uk/resources/muslims-against-terrorism/

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Grotesque!

We didn't see this coming! , one person said.

What's the moral of the story? Silence is golden? Either put up or shut up?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Maybe not a great idea to opine about unrealized fears of potential racism while the body of a beheaded teacher and father is still warm. It shows a severe lack of compassion.

Ah, yes. The old "now is not the time". "Thoughts and prayers", etc

Now is the exactly the time. One can be compassionate and try to prevent far right backlashes. Not mutually exclusive.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I don't of any religion out there that sets off followers more than when you simply "discuss" cartoon versions of their 'god'. Why is that?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

There needs to be a debate on this by Muslims and if it is impossible to prevent further killings then Islam in France must be abolished.

People in the UK used to say similar things about the Irish in the 70s.

Send 'em home and all that. Innocent Irish people beaten up, attacked, kicked out of their lodgings, arrested because of curtain twitching neighbors.

And of course, the internment of innocent men and women in the occupied 6 counties - which only fed the ranks of the IRA.

Why is it up to Muslims to do something? I mean, obviously (as posted above) there are many, many Muslims and organizations that speak out but it's not like the entire Muslim world is one big monolithic blob.

It's like telling all white people to debate on acts of violence/terror carried out by other white people.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

It is the time for Muslim communities in France and around the world to condemn this extreme act of terrorism in the strongest terms.

There are plenty of Muslims who repeatedly around the world who denounce such acts of violence.

It needs to go deeper than that. Of course many denounce the violence, but what we need to hear is an acceptance that freedom of speech is a given in countries like France, and their religious beliefs are not above criticism or ridicule - just like other religious beliefs. This is what we don’t hear clearly enough, often enough and by enough people. Intolerance of freedom of speech is far too widespread and while attacks like this come from the extreme, the intolerance of freedom of speech is far too mainstream.

The reaction to the Charlie Hebdo massacre from many was a disgrace. Too many knee-jerk claims of racism ( how is a religion a race? ), too much ‘well, you’ve got to understand...’ excuse-making for backward ideas and too many talking about ‘Islamophobia’ on the part of a magazine which satirized all religions and everyone from the far-right to the far-left.

There is a critical problem here.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I don't of any religion out there that sets off followers more than when you simply "discuss" cartoon versions of their 'god'. Why is that?

Death threats were made to BBC bosses after the Christian parody Jerry Springer - The Opera aired.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-333419/BBC-boss-hiding.html

Death threats were made to the Hindu parody site Humans of Hindutva.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/31/indian-parody-facebook-closes-hindu-death-threats-humans-of-hindutva

Buddhists made threats to Christians in Sri Lanka

https://www.newstatesman.com/node/161940

Why is that?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@Toasted Heretic How many acts of terror have been perpetrated in the name of Islam vs all other religions combined since 9/11?

any guesses?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I don't of any religion out there that sets off followers more than when you simply "discuss" cartoon versions of their 'god'. Why is that?

Death threats were made to BBC bosses after the Christian parody Jerry Springer - The Operaaired.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-333419/BBC-boss-hiding.html

Death threats were made to the Hindu parody site Humans of Hindutva

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/31/indian-parody-facebook-closes-hindu-death-threats-humans-of-hindutva

Buddhists made threats to Christians in Sri Lanka

https://www.newstatesman.com/node/161940

Why is that?

How many resulted in decapitations or people marching into offices and mowing people down with assault weapons for insulting these religions?

How many temples, churches or synagogues have repeatedly been in trouble with the authorities for hosting extremists promoting violence in Europe?

How many Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist fundamentalists are on terror watch lists in Europe?

You are doing precisely the excuse-making I’m talking about.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

as an aside, has anyone noticed that upvoting or downvoting a comment automatically adds the opposite vote as a negation??

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

has anyone noticed that upvoting or downvoting a comment automatically adds the opposite vote as a negation??

Only if you’ve already voted as it removes your original vote as well as applies your new one.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I have just been to over 40 countries and several trips some countries. My first visit to France was over 15 years ago and I felt France in general to be a safe and a developed country. My last visit in 2019 was completely different. I felt that it is not the same. The safety and the prosperity I felt was not there any more apart from magnificent historical architecture. I felt France to be unsafe and in some ways I felt petty that it was changing for worse.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Killing is never good.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

so one of the kids complained and this nut job somehow got wind of the teacher's class content.

was the teacher abducted at knifepoint away from the school, or did he barge into the school grounds and take him out to the street? article doesn't seem to go into details...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You are doing precisely the excuse-making I’m talking about.

Not at all.

There's no excuse for the violence. None.

When you say

I hope to see a huge and united outcry from the Muslim communities

Out of interest, do you ask your Muslim friends, colleagues or neighbors to do the same when something like that happens in the UK? And how do they react?

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@Toasted Heretic How many acts of terror have been perpetrated in the name of Islam vs all other religions combined since 9/11?

any guesses?

Given that Bush and Blair claimed that their deity guided their choice to bomb, murder and maim hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's hard to give an exact number. But those particular two terrorists certainly killed a lot of people.

It's a calamity. It really is.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

caricature

/ˈkarɪkətjʊə,ˈkarɪkətʃɔː/

Learn to pronounce

noun

a picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

What's a history teacher doing playing with sensitivities of students & his surrounding society? Whereas no one condones his decapitation I also don't condone his total insensitivity for his environment. What of the school board? This has nothing to do with free speech, this is about creating a harmonious society.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

If one right wing gun nutter that guns down multiple people in a Kass shooting in the US doesn’t represent all American rightists, then certainly a single Muslim committing a heinous crime doesn’t represent all Muslims.

I know that my argument is based in logic, so I apologize ahead of time for confusing the conservatives.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@Toasted Heretic

Just to clarify your position here, do you think there is no particular problem with violent Islamic extremism, intolerance of freedom of speech and an extraordinarIly disproportionate number of Muslims on terror watch lists in Europe?

It’s just that your what about death threats from Hindus and Buddhists is often used to try to muddy the waters.

As for Muslim friends in the UK, I left the UK nearly 25 years ago and lost touch with the few Muslims I knew along with many others. I know an Iranian bar owner in my neighbourhood who regards himself as a cultural Muslim.

I prefer to look at polls when judging reactions. I can’t imagine your circle of Muslim friends in the UK include the quarter of British Muslims who had some sympathy with the Charlie Hebdo butchers.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Only if you’ve already voted as it removes your original vote as well as applies your new one.

no, these were first time votes.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Given that Bush and Blair claimed that their deity guided their choice to bomb, murder and maim hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's hard to give an exact number. But those particular two terrorists certainly killed a lot of people.

It's a calamity. It really is.

So you do know the answer and don't want to engage.

Thats fine. I wouldn't either.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Every news outlet in every country that claims to value free speech and freedom of press needs to reprint this caricature to show solidarity and demonstrate that we won’t be intimidated.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Any cartoon of Muhammad (PBUH) goes against Islamic teachings. Even if it's some normal cartoon depicting an event from the Qur'an

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Anyone who has dealt with Muslim culture understands that religion permeates daily life in a way that no longer exists in the West.

Anyone who has read a bit about the history of the Muslim world and the Qur'an understands that the concept of jihad is applied to every aspect of life. They also know jihad is eternal until all the peoples of the world are Muslims.

Sadly, most Western liberals and conservatives are ignorant of all these facts. And then they wonder why their "civic nationalism" is rejected by Muslims.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

u_s__reamer

This hateful act will sow seeds of hate and boost the immune system of French fascism. Democratic values are once again under threat and it is to be hoped that the French body politic can suppress the virus of racism and bigotry.

The blood is barely dry, and you are already blaming the victim?? Any fascism here comes from the religionists who want to impose their religious law above the constitution. Remember that this is not an isolated case; remember what happened to the Charlie Hedbo editors, and the Bataclan theater in Paris. I could go on. The beheaders do not exist in a vacuum, they are the enforcers of an ideology that is supported by many and preached in many houses of worship.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Every news outlet in every country that claims to value free speech and freedom of press needs to reprint this caricature to show solidarity and demonstrate that we won’t be intimidated.

It’s sad to say the jihadis largely won the war against freedom of speech on the issue of caricaturing Mohammed. Caricaturing other religious figures is of course still done.

One perspective is that a news outlet which reprints the caricatures is putting his or her staff in mortal danger. It isn’t always the decision makers who lose their lives. I must admit I’d be reticent to put my staff in the firing line. This may be cowardice on my part but I don’t know if I could live myself if jihadis decided to implement their blasphemy laws against my staff.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Shockingly horrible, this is what France has devolved into, and the western Europe may follow. All thanks to the diversity social experiment

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Toasted Heretic

There are plenty of Muslims who repeatedly around the world who denounce such acts of violence.

Alas, opinion polls show that there is also a very large percentage that approves of punishing blasphemy (which cartooning Mohammed is) with death, as per Shariah law. You might want want to read the Pew Poll about opinions in the muslim world. It will rattle your wishful thinking bubble a bit.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Toasted Heretic

Death threats were made to BBC bosses after the Christian parody Jerry Springer - The Opera aired.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-333419/BBC-boss-hiding.html

Death threats were made to the Hindu parody site Humans of Hindutva.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/31/indian-parody-facebook-closes-hindu-death-threats-humans-of-hindutva

Buddhists made threats to Christians in Sri Lanka

https://www.newstatesman.com/node/161940

Why is that?

Because there always morons who make "death threats" in the anonymous world of the internet.

However, your fishing expedition only yielded empty words. Now try to find examples of fundamentalist Christians or Buddhists actually beheading people to shouts of "Buddha/Jesus is great" in real life. You will come up empty.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Anyone who has dealt with Muslim culture understands that religion permeates daily life in a way that no longer exists in the West.

What point are your trying to make? I understand that some Muslims are like that - but so what? I understand why this boy murdered his teacher, but I strongly disagree with it.

Any cartoon of Muhammad (PBUH)

Given your avatar, I would have thought that you are a Christian, so I don't understand your PBUH thing. You would surely only say this if you are a Muslim.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ah_so

What point are your trying to make? I understand that some Muslims are like that - but so what? I understand why this boy murdered his teacher, but I strongly disagree with it.

The point that Ego sum lux mundi (quite a username...) made was that islam does not have a separation between religion and church, while modern Western countries (still) do.

In the islamic world, that is a constant struggle. There are some countries that have this separation written into their constitution (e.g. Turkey, Azerbeijan, Indonesia), but that separation is under constant assault from the islamic parties. In Turkey, Kemalism has already been largeley dismantled by Erdogan. In Indonesia, they have given up to the islamists in some areas (i.e. Azeh), and others are to follow.

The West is still holding out, do we really still have freedom of speech? Can you even discuss a cartoon of the prophet in France today and feel safe?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I condemn this violence. It is the work of the devil infecting the heart of a youth.

I support free speech.

@Bob, you'll find the downvotes popping in because another commenter is online at the same time as you and is simultaneously providing a vote, but your page hasn't updated between the time they voted and the time the page refreshed for your vote (and it therefore captures all of the recent votes when it refreshes). Go to some other article with little interest and you are unlikely to be reading and voting at the time another JT commenter is also voting, and you won't see your votes being countered.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is no information about the attack other than the basic facts in regards to the actual killing.

There is no evidence linking the killer to a terrorist group. Whatever the motivation it was a gruesome act of murder.

The teacher who presented a lesson, employing the Hebdo caricature, asked the Muslim students to leave the classroom, so that they would not be offended by the cartoon.  

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, some Muslim parents complained to the school about the teacher's decision to use one or more of the cartoons as part of a discussion about the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

What happened?

The municipal police of Conflans Sainte-Honorine alerted the national police after discovering a decapitated person. The local police officers first arrived at the scene around 17:00 on Friday, France 3 Ile-de-France reports.

A man wielding a large knife reportedly attacked the teacher in the street before running off.

The police pursued him and confronted him in the nearby district Éragny.

He shot at police with an air pistol (a non-lethal weapon), FranceInfo reports. The police fired ten shots and killed the assailant. The police had asked him to put down his weapon, but he refused, FranceInfo reports. 

Police have provided few other details about the attacker, the victim or the incident.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites