Saudi Arabia leads Arab and Muslim world in condemning terrorist murder of French teacher

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Muslims and Arab world stand in solidarity with France against terrorist attacks.
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A child lays flowers at the entrance of a middle school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, on Oct.17, 2020, after a teacher was decapitated by an attacker who has been shot dead by policemen.(AFP)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Saudi Arabia leads Arab and Muslim world in condemning terrorist murder of French teacher

  • Kingdom rejects all violence, extremism and terrorism
  • It also renewed its call to respect religious symbols and to refrain from stirring hatred by insulting religion

JEDDAH: The Arab and Muslim world was united in its condemnation on Saturday after a teacher in France was beheaded in a terrorist attack.

Samuel Paty, 47, was murdered on his way home from school on Friday in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. His attacker, Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, a Chechen born in Moscow, was shot dead by police.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed the Kingdom’s solidarity with the French people, and offered condolences to the victim’s family, the French government and its people.

The Ministry said the Kingdom rejected all violence, extremism and terrorism, and renewed its call to respect religious symbols and to refrain from stirring hatred by insulting religion.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, head of the Muslim World League, said acts of violence and terrorism were crimes in all religions. 

He stressed the importance of making every effort to fight terrorism and uproot its evil, including defeating the extremist ideology that encouraged such crimes.

He urged France’s leaders to stand against all forms of terror and continue their efforts to eradicate anything that would undermine its security and stability.

In Cairo, Al-Azhar, the center of Sunni Muslim learning, denounced “this heinous crime and all other terror acts.” It said: “Murder is a crime that cannot be justified in any way. Al-Azhar also underscores its constant call for denouncement of hate speech and violence … and maintains the necessity of respecting sanctities and religious figures, and refraining from stirring up hatred by insulting religions.”

The murdered teacher taught history and geography at the College du Bois d’Aulne. At the beginning of October, he taught a class on freedom of expression for which he showed pupils caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Parents and students said Paty gave Muslim pupils the choice to leave the classroom so as not to offend them or hurt their feelings.

Nine people have been detained for questioning about the attack, including one student’s father who complained about the class.

Abdullakh Anzorov had lived in France since he was 6, when his family claimed asylum, and he was granted a residence permit this year. A photograph of Paty and a message confessing to his murder were found on Anzorov’s mobile phone.

French anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said Anzorov loitered outside the school on Friday afternoon and asked students where he could find Paty.

“A teacher was assassinated for the work that he does, but freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and the ability to teach these fundamental principles in our schools have also been attacked,” Ricard said.


France teacher’s killer had ‘contact’ with militant in Syria

Updated 33 min 33 sec ago

France teacher’s killer had ‘contact’ with militant in Syria

  • Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib

PARIS: The investigation into the murder in France of a teacher for showing caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in class turned to Syria on Thursday, where the killer had a militant contact, a source close to the case said.
Seven people have been charged with being complicit in a “terrorist murder” after 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov killed Samuel Paty on Friday, including two teenagers who helped him identify the teacher.
France paid homage to Paty on Wednesday, with President Emmanuel Macron saying that the history and geography teacher had been slain by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.
In their search for accomplices, anti-terror investigators have now established that Anzorov had contact with a Russian-speaking militant in Syria whose identity is not yet known, the source told AFP.
Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a militant holdout in northwestern Syria.
In an audio message in Russian immediately after the killing, translated by AFP, Anzorov said that he had “avenged the Prophet” whom the teacher had shown “in an insulting way.”
The message was published on social media in a video, accompanied by two tweets, one showing the victim’s severed head and another in which Anzorov confessed to the murder.
Moments later he was shot dead by police. Anzorov decapitated Paty with a long knife.
Many of Paty’s students saw the images online before they could be taken down.
The teenagers who pointed out Paty to his killer in return for money were late Wednesday charged over the killing.

HIGHLIGHT

Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s suspected contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a militant holdout in northwestern Syria.

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.
Also charged was a known extremist radical who helped the father stir up outrage against Paty.
The other three facing prosecution are friends of Anzorov, one of whom allegedly drove him to the scene of the crime while another accompanied him to purchase a weapon.
Two of them also face c harges of being complicit in terrorist murder while the third was charged with a lesser offense, the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said.
Paty, 47, became the target of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material — the same images which unleashed a bloody assault by gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
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 French government has earmarked for dissolution more than 50 other organizations it accuses of having links with extremists.
Paty’s beheading was the second knife attack since a trial of alleged accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack started last month.
The killing has prompted an outpouring of emotion in France, with tens of thousands taking part in rallies countrywide in defense of free speech and the right to mock religion.
“We will not give up cartoons,” Macron vowed at a ceremony Wednesday in Paty’s honor at the Sorbonne university in Paris.