French Teacher Beheaded After He Showed Students Cartoons Depicting The Prophet Mohammed

An 18-year-old assailant was shot dead by police as they tried to arrest him.

Cover image via CBC via Charles Platiau/Reuters & News Beezer via BFMTV

On 16 October, a history teacher was beheaded outside his school in a suburb north of Paris and police shot the suspected killer dead

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited the scene and called the killing an "Islamist terrorist attack", the teacher was murdered because he "taught freedom of expression".

In the attack, that took place in a street in an area called Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, an 18-year-old assailant decapitated the mid-school teacher's head, then ran off, BBC reported.

The knife-wielding suspect, who reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar", was shot as officers tried to arrest him in the aftermath of the attack. Police have not released any personal details about him.

Police officers near the scene.

Image via The New York Times

"One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression," the French President was quoted as saying by Reuters at the scene of the attack.

"Our compatriot was flagrantly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack," Macron said, adding, "They won't win... We will act. Firmly, And quickly. You can count on my determination."

Four people including a minor have since been arrested

France's anti-terrorism prosecutor's department has since opened an investigation concerning murder with a suspected terrorist motive, according to a report in the Associated Press (AP) News.

The AP News report stated that the teacher, who has been identified as Samuel Paty, had received threats after opening a discussion "for debate" about the caricatures earlier this month.

It wasn't reported if the suspect had any connection to the school where the teacher taught.

The teacher's class had incited anger among some Muslim families

According to a Reuters' report, the father of a 13-year-old Muslim student who attended the civics class given by the teacher earlier this month said that the teacher had invited Muslim students to leave the class, advising them that he would be showing a caricature of Mohammad that might cause offence.

The father, Nordine Chaouadi, said that his son interpreted the teacher’s actions as done "out of kindness and respect for their faith", adding that the teacher "did it to protect the children, not to shock them".

Some parents, however, took offence, with one parent, whose daughter was in the same class, branding the history teacher a thug, and posted a video about it on social media, Reuters reported.

He claimed that her daughter was shocked and upset by the teacher's actions.

Meanwhile, following the murder, another parent defended the teacher.

"He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage the critical spirit of his students, always with respect and intelligence. This evening, I am sad, for my daughter, but also for teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without being afraid of being killed?" the parent was reported as saying in a report by The Guardian.

On social media, French officials denounced the killing:

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