Who was the French teacher beheaded for showing Muhammad’s caricature

On Friday (16), history professor Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old family man, was beheaded in France by an 18-year-old Chechen boy. The motivation for the murder, according to several international media, would have been religious: Paty showed caricatures of the prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of expression.

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The professor worked in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a town in France with just over 30,000 inhabitants. At the agency France-Presse, students, parents, colleagues and friends described him as a kind and passionate man. After the crime, hundreds of people went to the school where Paty was teaching to pay homage.

One of his students defined him as a teacher who “got involved in classes” and promoted debates. A former colleague of his defined him as “a super teacher, a man of dialogue”. The mother of a student stated that Paty “was a teacher who liked students, he was very attentive”.

The young man of Chechen origin who killed the teacher was not his student nor did he study at the school where Paty taught. He was born in Moscow and had a refugee visa in France, obtained in March this year. He was killed by the local police shortly after the murder.

Online reaction may have triggered the murder of the teacher

According to Reuters, before being murdered, Paty was the victim of a social media campaign for showing Muhammad’s caricatures in the classroom. The controversy began on October 7, when the father of a Muslim student posted a video on criticizing the teacher and asking for his resignation. According to the prosecutor in the case, the student’s father has a relative who is a member of the Islamic State.

In a video posted on YouTube on October 12, this same student was interviewed by a man who does not appear in the footage. The man said in the video that France’s President Emmanuel Macron incites hatred towards Muslims and threatened a demonstration.

To solve the problem, the school principal tried to arrange a meeting with the parents who had been dissatisfied with Paty’s class, but the father who posted the video on Facebook declined to attend.

The parents who attended were satisfied with the explanations, but according to prosecutors in the case, the school continued to receive threats on social media.

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