French Police Crack Down on Islamists After Teacher Beheading

October 19, 2020 Updated: October 19, 2020

PARIS—French police on Monday raided Islamic associations and foreigners suspected of extremist religious beliefs, three days after a suspected Islamist beheaded a school teacher.

History teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was murdered on Friday in broad daylight outside his school in a middle-class Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin. Police shot the attacker dead.

Hundreds of people gather on Republique square during a demonstration
Hundreds of people gather on Republique square during a demonstration in Paris on Oct. 18, 2020. Demonstrations were held around France in support of freedom of speech and to pay tribute to slain history teacher Samuel Paty. (Michel Euler/AP Photo)

The teenage assassin sought to avenge his victim’s use of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression to 13-year-olds. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.

Public figures called the killing an attack on the Republic and on French values.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said there were some 80 investigations being conducted into online hate and that he was looking into whether to disband about 50 associations within the Muslim community.

Epoch Times Photo
A child holds up a a poster of Samuel Paty as people gather on Republique square in Lille, northern France, on Oct. 18, 2020. (Michel Spingler/AP Photo)

“Police operations have taken place and more will follow, concerning tens of individuals,” the minister told Europe 1.

Police detained 10 people in connection with the attack in the 24 hours that followed Paty’s killing. Among them, prosecutors said, were the father of a pupil at Paty’s school and another person on the radar of intelligence services, who they said had used social media to campaign against the teacher.

Darmanin said the two men’s calls for action against Paty served as a Fatwa against him.

By Sudip Kar-Gupta, Jean-Stephane Brosse, and Tangi Salaün