France’s Enemy Within: Macron Pledges Crackdown on Radical Islam After Teacher’s Beheading

Written by | Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

The „Cheikh Yassine Collective” — a pro-Palestinian organisation — is to be dissolved due to its “direct” implication in the terror attack against teacher Samuel Paty, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday (20 October), adding that further measures against radical Islam are to be taken over the next couple of days. Macron also noted that over the past three years, “hundreds” of similar organisations had been shut down by the authorities, whereby “decisions of this type against associations, groups of individuals, will follow in the coming days and weeks.” The 47-year-old Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, was beheaded last Friday (16 October) near the school he taught at in a middle-class Paris suburb Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
Prosecutors said the 18-year-old Chechen assailant, who was born in Moscow and had been living in France as a refugee, was shot dead by police soon after the attack. The suspected Islamist wanted to punish his victim for showing his pupils satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class focused on freedom of expression earlier this month. The beheading of a public servant by the Chechen man for the teacher‘s use of religious satire to explore with students the debate surrounding freedom of expression, which are seen as the principal vector to impart the Republic’s secular values on every citizen, has convulsed France and shocked the world. Under pressure from political opponents who have accused him of not being tough enough on terrorism, Macron is cracking down on by what he calls Islamist separatism – attempts by some French Muslims to impose conservative Islamic beliefs eclipsing traditional values of the French Republic in their communities. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said this week France was confronted by an “enemy within”.
Meanwhile, French authorities have ordered the temporary closure of The Grand Mosque of Pantin, a low-income suburb on the capital’s northeastern outskirts, on Tuesday (20 October), part of a crackdown on Muslims who incite hatred after the teacher‘s decapitation. The mosque had shared a video on its Facebook page before the attack that vented hatred against history teacher Samuel Paty, an act over which the mosque‘s rector, M’hammed Henniche, expressed regret following the killing. It has also emerged Paty had become the victim of a vicious online campaign of intimidation even before he was killed. In the video, the Muslim father of one of Paty’s students said the history teacher had singled out Muslim students and asked them to leave his class before showing the cartoons. He called Paty a thug and said he wanted the teacher removed. The student’s father is now in police custody.

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