This Monday, October 5, Samuel Paty, professor of history and geography at the Bois d’Aulne college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), discusses freedom of expression with his 4th year students. The teacher illustrates his point by showing two caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published by the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Two weeks and a controversy around this course instrumentalised by a parent of a student later, the teacher is beheaded on the way between his establishment and his home by Abdoullak Anzorov. This 18-year-old young man of Chechen origin is not one of his students, does not know him and came to Evreux (Eure) on purpose to assassinate him.
This 11-day period between the two events is at the heart of the investigation carried out by the anti-terrorism sub-directorate (SDAT) and the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI). Eleven days during which a simple controversy around a course on secularism yet in the school curriculum resulted in an insane manner in a symbolic attack of rare barbarism. Eleven days that turned a boy totally unknown to the intelligence services into an Islamist terrorist.
Could we foresee this drama? According to our information, the college incident was the subject of a confidential note from the Central Territorial Intelligence Service (SCRT) dated October 12. Everything suggests that the controversy over Samuel Paty’s course, relayed and amplified on social networks, influenced Abdullak Anzorov and guided his hand. However, the first investigations suggest that the terrorist knew neither the parent of the student who initiated the controversy, nor the Islamist agitator who tried to make political recovery. These two men were still heard in police custody on Saturday evening, as were eight other people including four members of the terrorist’s family.
The chronology of the controversy is established with precision by the agents of the Yvelines branch of the SCRT in their note published five days before the tragedy. ” The next day [du cours sur la liberté d’expression], a mother contacted the principal in tears, telling her that her daughter had been “put aside in the hallway on the pretext that she was a Muslim, and that she experienced this situation as discrimination” “, write the police officers in this document that we were able to consult. In reality, Samuel Paty simply suggested that students who would feel offended by the photos of the cartoons “close their eyes or leave the classroom”.
The head of the establishment offers her teacher to come back to the controversy with her students and invites her to “apologize if he was clumsy”. Samuel Paty does so. But what should have remained an epiphenomenon confined to a college in the Paris suburbs will take a much more political turn.
A call on Facebook “against the teacher”
On October 7, the principal of the college received an anonymous email denouncing “a climate of Islamophobia” and accusing the establishment of “dividing […] from the youngest age “. The same day, a parent of a student at Conflans college, Brahim C. published “a call to mobilize against the teacher” on Facebook. This 47-year-old father, whose half-sister left for Syria to join the Islamic State organization several years ago, is received by the principal.
During this interview, according to the note of the SCRT, he denounces an “offense of a sacred”. However, his daughter did not attend the course in question, contrary to what she tried to “make the investigator believe” from the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine police station who took her complaint for “dissemination of pornographic images. – one of the cartoons presented by Samuel Paty showed the prophet Muhammad naked, buttocks in the air. On October 8, Brahim C. goes further and publishes a video naming the professor by name with the college address. He urges his supporters to “say stop”.
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During all his efforts, Brahim C. is accompanied by another man who presents himself to the principal of the college of Bois d’Aulne as “responsible for the imams of France”. Born in 1959 in Fez (Morocco), Abdelhakim Sefrioui is an old acquaintance of the intelligence services. File S and registered in the files of radicalized people (FSPRT), he is the creator of the Cheikh Yassine Collective which defends the pro-Palestinian cause. Brahim C. and Abdelhakim Sefrioui “refused to allow a thug to use freedom of speech and freedom of the press to show a caricature of a prophet.
VIDEO. Hundreds of people pay homage to Samuel Paty
And to add, among other things, that the children had been attacked in their psychological integrity, ”the agents of the RT report. But the interview does not ease tensions. The two men refuse to meet Samuel Paty, as proposed by the principal, and threaten to contact the press and invite Muslims to demonstrate “in front of the college and the DSDEN (Department of Departmental Services for National Education”.
During this period, Abdelhakim Sefrioui gives an echo which exceeds the department of Yvelines to the controversy by splitting in turn of a video where he demands “the immediate suspension” of Samuel Paty, denouncing his “lack of respect”.
Calm seems to return with the parents of students
This Islamist activist, member of the Council of Imams of France also participates, on October 12, in a new video entitled “Islam and the Prophet insulted in a public college”. For 10 minutes, he interviews the daughter of Brahim C. and explains “that Emmanuel Macron had stirred up hatred between Muslims”. The same day, Samuel Paty, summoned to the police station as part of the investigation into the complaint filed by Brahim C., in turn filed a complaint for defamation. At the same time, the principal seems to renew the dialogue with the other parents of pupils whom she meets in the presence of the victim and calls on a team “Secularism and values of the Republic”. Samuel Paty also receives the arrival of an inspector to remind him of “the rules of secularism and neutrality”.
For the agents of the SCRT, the controversy seems to be extinguished. “Communication between the management and the families has visibly eased tensions, which are mainly due to the family [de Brahim C.), qui semble mettre à profit cette situation pour dénoncer une « islamophobie ambiante ». […] Within the college, no major tension is palpable, as much on the side of the educational community as of the federations of the parents of pupils which, while recognizing “a certain awkwardness of the professor” (well appreciated by his hierarchy), does not it. do not disavow, however, ”concluded the intelligence police on 12 October.
Abdoullak Anzorov influenced by videos on social networks?
Five days later according to our information, Abdoullak Anzorov is taking public transport to Paris from Evreux. He then went to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. For several hours, the young terrorist armed with a 35 cm knife and an airsoft gun waits in front of the Bois d’Aulne college. He approaches college students to identify Samuel Paty, whom he follows out of the establishment. Less than 500 m further, shortly before 5 p.m., he attacks the teacher and stabs him on numerous occasions before cutting off his head and being shot by the police in Eragny (Val-d’Oise).
Should Samuel Paty have been placed under protection following this information? The agents of the SCRNT do not mention death threats. “It’s been 12 years that the services have tried to judicially hook Abdelhakim Sefrioui because of his separatist activities, notes a senior official. His involvement in this controversy was not trivial and should have made the agents tick and be the subject of a precise feedback. Even if this obviously does not mean that his presence was the forerunner of an attack. “
VIDEO. The killer asked college students to identify the teacher
A legal puzzle looms for the investigation. The terrorist seems to have no connection with the college or the Yvelines. He would therefore have been aware of the controversy through the videos on social networks published by Brahim C. and Abdelhakim Sefrioui. Can we therefore establish a complicity or a moral responsibility? Their custody can last 96 hours in total.
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