Home News Macron denounces beheading of history teacher as ‘Islamist terrorist attack’

Macron denounces beheading of history teacher as ‘Islamist terrorist attack’

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Emmanuel Macron has said that the history teacher beheaded in a Paris suburb ‘was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack’.

The victim is said to have shown pupils controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and opened a discussion about them ‘for a debate’.

His attacker was shot dead by a police patrol a few streets away from the scene in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, around 25 miles from the city centre, late on Friday afternoon.

The French president told reporters at the school where the victim worked: ‘One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe.

‘Our compatriot was cowardly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack.’

He added: ‘It is not a coincidence if tonight a teacher was struck, because the terrorist wanted to attack the values of the Republic, its light, the possibility to make our children, no matter where they come from, no matter what they believe or not believe, no matter what their religion is, to make them free citizens.

‘That battle is our battle and it’s an existential one.’

TOPSHOT - French President Emmanuel Macron (C) leaves a middle school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, 30kms northwest of Paris, on October 16, 2020, after a teacher was decapitated by an attacker who has been shot dead by policemen. - French anti-terror prosecutors said on October 16 they were investigating an assault in which a man was decapitated on the outskirts of Paris and the attacker shot by police. The attack happened at around 5 pm (1500 GMT) near a school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a western suburb of the French capital. The man who was decapitated was a history teacher who had recently shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in class. French prosecutors are treating the attack as a terror incident, which coincides with the trial of alleged accomplices of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attackers and comes weeks after a man injured two people he thought worked for the magazine. (Photo by ABDULMONAM EASSA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ABDULMONAM EASSA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron leaves a middle school in Conflans Saint-Honorine (Picture: AFP via Getty)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R), flanked by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (2L) and French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer (C), speaks to the press in front of a middle school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, 30kms northwest of Paris, on October 16, 2020, after a teacher was decapitated by an attacker who has been shot dead by policemen. - French anti-terror prosecutors said on October 16 they were investigating an assault in which a man was decapitated on the outskirts of Paris and the attacker shot by police. The attack happened at around 5 pm (1500 GMT) near a school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a western suburb of the French capital. The man who was decapitated was a history teacher who had recently shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in class. French prosecutors are treating the attack as a terror incident, which coincides with the trial of alleged accomplices of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attackers and comes weeks after a man injured two people he thought worked for the magazine. (Photo by ABDULMONAM EASSA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ABDULMONAM EASSA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mr Macron promised to act ‘firmly and quickly’ in response to the ‘terrorist’ attack (Picture: AFP via Getty)
TOPSHOT - French police officers stand guard a street in Eragny on October 16, 2020, where an attacker was shot dead by policemen after he decapitated a man earlier on the same day in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. - French anti-terror prosecutors said Friday they were investigating an assault in which a man was decapitated on the outskirts of Paris and the attacker shot by police. The attack happened at around 5 pm (1500 GMT) near a school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a western suburb of the French capital. The man who was decapitated was a history teacher who had recently shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in class. French prosecutors are treating the attack as a terror incident, which coincides with the trial of alleged accomplices of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attackers and comes weeks after a man injured two people he thought worked for the magazine. (Photo by ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP) (Photo by ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP via Getty Images)
French police officers stand guard a street in Eragny (Picture: AFP via Getty)

More than a dozen people are standing trial in Paris accused of being accomplices in the 2015 attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published the cartoons.

The paper republished them on the eve of the trial, in an apparent show of defiance and to underscore the right of freedom of expression.

Soon afterwards, two people were wounded in a knife attack outside the satirical magazine’s former offices.

The teenage attacker told police he was upset about the publication of the cartoons.

Gunman 'shouting Allahu Akbar' BEHEADS a man in Paris attack 'motivated by cartoons of the Prophet' before being shot dead by police
Images of a body lying in the road were circulated online before terror police confirmed they were investigating the attack (Picture: LCI)

Police have said that the teacher targeted in the latest attack had received threats after discussing them around 10 days ago.

Before showing the images he reportedly advised Muslim students to leave the classroom if they thought they might be offended.

At least one parent was said to have complained about the teacher’s decision to use the caricatures as part of a citizenship lesson about the Charlie Hebdo trial, French media report.

The killer has yet to be identified. An ID card was found at the scene but police are still verifying it. He was reportedly an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow, but that has not been confirmed.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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