French teacher’s lesson on Charlie Hebdo sparked social media controversy

PARIS- 47 days before Samuel Patty was killed in an attack on France, the 47-year-old history teacher was guiding his class through a raucous debate over the limits of free speech.

The teacher – who had been interviewed by French authorities about the lesson before his death – said he warned students in the classroom that he had set his eyes before displaying cartoons from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo targeted in the 2015 bloody terror attack Close it.

“He said he had taken care, before showing some of these pictures, to suggest to his students to stay away from an incident that they might be offended by,” said Jean-François Ricard, the French antiterrorism prosecutor.

However, the text angered a parent at the school, who posted videos on social media, fearlessly instructing Mr Patty to share a depiction of Muhammad with the class and demanding his dismissal. French investigators are now trying to determine how polemic spread on social media and whether that exposure played a role in Mr. Patty’s murder.

French officials say their attacker, identified as Abdullakh Abuyezidovich A, an 18-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen origin, was found outside the school on Friday afternoon and asked the students to identify Mr Pati. Officials said he killed her shortly after classes were over, throwing her body into the street. Mr Rickard said the suspect claimed responsibility for the attack in a message sent to his Twitter account, stating that Mr Patty had abolished the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Police shot him minutes later.

Police have detained at least nine people in connection with the attack, including four family members of the suspect and the parents who posted the video.

The attack came against the backdrop of growing tensions among France’s Muslim community, Europe’s largest, and a political establishment determined to maintain the country’s long-standing tradition of strict secularism.

People gathered outside a school in Conflance-Saint-Honorin, a Parisian suburb.


Bertrand Guay / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Those two worlds collide in orbit, where France has banned Muslim chiefs and other religious symbols. According to an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron, France will organize a national tribute on Wednesday in coordination with his family.

French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blancre said, “It is an attack against the Republic because the school is the backbone of the Republic.”

Mr. Macron’s government has recently called the communities “Islamic separatism” where he said religious laws prevailed over citizens. Mr Macron said, if the law is passed, it would empower the authorities to close unions and schools that he said inspire children, and monitor foreign investment in religious organizations in France.

The proposed legislation aims at what many French consider to be a steady erosion of the values ​​of the French Republic. Charlie Hebdo’s tendency to depict religious figures in Baoli’s cartoons made it a symbol of freedom of expression. It also targeted Islamic State militants who killed the publication’s newsroom in January 2015 before dying in a shootout with police.

In September, France followed a lengthy investigation into the attack following a trial by alleged accomplices of the attack and another attack that took place a few days later at the Kosher grocery store. As the trial began, Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons that triggered the 2015 attack, stating that the cartoons are intended as “evidence”. A day later, a Pakistani immigrant attacked with butcher knife and seriously wounded two people outside Charlie Hebdo’s former office.

It was in this dilemma of social and religious upheaval that Mr. Patty set out to deliver his lesson in early October. Mr. Riord said that as part of the eighth grade text, “Contraversies and Limits of Free Speech,” Mr. Patty organized a debate on the publication of Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad’s caricature.

According to a copy of the lesson plan described by Mr. Rickard, Mr. Patty showed the class two cartoons. One depicted a person on his hands and knees, exposing his genitals and a star covering his back. The caption of the cartoon read: “Muhammad, a star is born,” Mr. Rickard said.

A parent was instigated at the school, and on October 7 recorded the first of three videos and several social media postings asking others to protest and search for Mr. Patty’s firing. The guardian, whose name has not been released, is the father whose daughter attends the school, and is now in custody for questioning related to the attack, Mr. Rickard said. The step-sister of a man who joined the Islamic State in Syria in 2014, and is still sought by authorities, Mr. Rickard said.

In the first video, seen by The Wall Street Journal, the father calls Mr. Patty a “thug”. The teacher says, he asked Muslim students in the class to raise their hands and then instructed his daughter and the remaining students to leave the classroom before showing the image of a naked male, adding that the teacher identified as Prophet Muhammad.

In the video, the father said that his daughter was suspended for two days for refusing to leave the room, but Mr Rickard said that the principal did not suspend her suspension for the behavior and dignity. Was held responsible. Attempts to reach school over the weekend were unsuccessful.

The father calls the people watching the video, who say “want to stand together and say” stop, don’t touch our kids, “to send him a text message. To the number provided in the video The call went to an automated recording, in which the mailbox was full.

People wrote on a sign that ‘I am a teacher’ read in front of a school in Conflance-Saint-Honorin, Paris suburb on Saturday.


Bertrand Guay / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Rodrigo Arenas, co-president of France’s national unions, one of the parent-teacher unions, said he was alerted to the video two days later, as it was spreading quickly on social media. Complaints were filed from across the country. “When we heard this information in the morning, we thought it was fake news,” Mr. Arenas said. “True or not, it was going viral.”

On October 8, the father showed up at the school with another person to complain to the principal, Mr. Rickard said. The principal “said Mr. tried to calm things in vain, while two men demanded the teacher’s firing,” Mr. Rickard said. He said that the second man, who he said was known to the French intelligence services, is in custody for questioning with his partner.

That same evening, the father posted a second video on social media, in which he gave Mr. Patty’s name and school address, according to Mr. Record, and incited his contacts to “say,” Stop! ”

The father later went to the local police station to file a complaint with his daughter for “distribution of pornographic images”, Mr Richard said.

During an interview with the police on October 10, Mr. Patty asked Muslim students to identify themselves and walk out of the room, with Mr. Rickard stating that the police only wanted the students to look away from some images. After knowing the father’s video, Mr. Patty also filed his complaint for defamation, Mr. Rickard said.

Two days later, the father published another video on social media, Mr. Rickard said. In this, the daughter repeats her story. The second person who went to school with the father also said, President Macron “protested” against Muslims and threatened to protest if the teacher was not fired, according to teacher records.

Mr. Arnes of the Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations said that after the video, he quickly informed the city’s mayor to prepare for the protest to be held in front of the school. The mayor said that a police detail is stationed in front of the school, and there was no protest, Mr. Arenas said. Mr. Rickard said the school also received threats.

The principal reached out to the parents, and met some people to calm the situation, but the father refused to meet the teacher, Mr. Rickard said.

On Friday, Abdulakh Abuyezidvich A contacted students outside the school and asked them to identify Mr. Patty. Born in Moscow, the Russians legally lived in France as a refugee and were known to the police only for petty crimes as a minor, Mr. Rickard said. He lived in a town in Normandy, more than 40 miles from the site of the crime.

Local police found that Mr. Patty’s body had been mutilated, with a stab wound to both the head and torso, near the school and on the way to the teacher’s nearest home, Mr. Rickard said.

Write Sam Schechner at [email protected] and Stacy Meichtry at [email protected]

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