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.


Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight remembers birth of UAE airline

Updated 3 min 22 sec ago

Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight remembers birth of UAE airline

  • The historic flight took off from Dubai to Karachi on Oct. 25, 1985
  • Carrier’s success lies in leadership that prioritizes competence, retired captain says

ISLAMABAD: Thirty-five years after he steered the first Emirates flight, retired Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian says the success of the UAE flag carrier was and remains its competence and merit.

The first Emirates flight, EK600, took off from Dubai to Karachi on Oct. 25, 1985.

Recalling the airline’s birth and having observed its operations for more than three decades, the former chief pilot of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), who flew the Emirates Airbus A300 on its maiden trip, says the UAE flag carrier’s success lies in leadership that prioritizes competence.

“Emirates selects people on merit and they give them responsibility with authority,” he told Arab News in an interview this week. “No outside interference in their job. I am proud that I was a part of competent people who played a role in building Emirates airline from scratch.”

His involvement with Emirates was a result of PIA’s contract with Dubai to provide pilots, engineers and two aircraft to help establish the UAE airline.

“I came to Dubai on Oct. 1, 1985 and met Emirates Airline managing director Maurice Flanagan and their teams,” Mian said. “We discussed the tasks ahead related to the arrival of two aircraft to lay the foundation of the Emirates airline.”

 

“We used to discuss the progress every day and prepare reports, and if there was any problem we found we used to help each other solve it.

 

“I am grateful to the great leadership of Sheikh Ahmed who was conducting these meetings,” he said, referring to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and founder of the Emirates Group.

The two aircraft were painted in Emirates colors at a PIA hangar in Karachi, all in secrecy. They were then flown to Dubai.

“On Oct. 18, 1985 a team of engineers, along with two aircraft, arrived at Dubai airport with the Emirates insignia. The aircraft were kept in a hangar at the far corner of the airport away from the public eye,” Mian said.

On Oct. 23, 1985, the Pakistani-Emirati team had to operate five special VIP flights over Dubai.

“On Oct. 22, we received some uniforms very late at night,” the former captain said. “The laundry was closed but a young man working in the hotel took the uniforms and pressed them at his residence and brought it back around midnight.”

An undated archive photo of Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian shows him during his service with Pakistan International Airlines.  (Photo courtesy: Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian)

“I was praying that nothing bad would happen,” Mian said. “The first Airbus flight was around 11 o’clock and Sheikh Mohammed (bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai) and other royal dignitaries were sitting on the aircraft. We flew over Dubai for 45 minutes and we were escorted by Dubai air force fighter pilots.”

Two days later the UAE flag carrier took off on its first official flight.

“On Oct. 25, we operated the first official flight to Karachi with top royal dignitaries of UAE and employees of Emirates airline on board,” Mian said.

The smooth beginning came with a dream landing.

“Landing was so smooth that nobody realized the aircraft had landed,” Mian said. “This was the beginning of Emirates

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