PARIS — French officials vowed to clamp down on civic groups they said in the days of promoting radical Islam, when an extremist beat up a schoolboy for showing the caricature of Prophet Mohammed at school.
French Interior Minister Gerald Dermannin said on Monday that 51 associations, including religious schools and mosques, would be visited by security services this week, and many of them would be dissolved. Authorities searched 40 suspected extremist individuals and associations on Monday, and have opened more than 80 investigations of extremist sentiment expressed online since the attack.
The action reflects tension between parts of France’s Muslim community and teachers, 47-year-old Samuel Patty, who was killed in an attack that shook the country.
Authorities suspect Mr Patty’s attacker – identified as Abdullakh Abuyezidovich A, an 18-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen origin – acted after watching a video made by the parents of a student at the school. Investigators are investigating how the video quickly spread on social media and whether it was amplified by extremist elements in the Muslim community.
The plaintiffs said the parents were enraged by a civil lesson that Mr. Patty gave over freedom of expression in which he displayed a satirical magazine from Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine targeted in a terrorist attack in 2015. In a cartoon, Prophet Muhammad was shown naked.
Officials said police found a message that the attacker sent via social media to parents and an Islamist activist who were campaigning against Mr Pati on social media. It is not clear what the content of the message was or whether they responded to it.
Officials said both parents and Islamist activists were detained by the police along with 13 others.
The attack came in the form of the government of President Emanuel Macron, who in a speech this month called “Islamic separatism”. Mr Macron said he would propose new laws, which would allow the government to ban organizations that inspire children, and monitor foreign investment in religious organizations in France.
Mr. Dermainin on Monday named two Islamic associations he would seek to dissolve: the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, or CCIF, and Barakcity, a Muslim nonprofit.
Mr. Dermannin said the CCIF is implicated in the teacher’s slaughter because in one video the parents appealed to the organization to help in their campaign to get Mr. Pati fired.
“We have certain elements that make us think that this is an enemy of the republic,” Mr. Dermannin said.
CCIF denied that it assisted the parent in its campaign or broadcast its videos online. The group said the next day of the attack, “It is not only untrue, but vile.” The group did not respond to Monday’s request for comment.
The barracity has been for years the sites of French officials engaging with Islamic activists. It was investigated first but was not prosecuted for financing terrorism. Last week, several days before Mr. Patty’s murder, its founder was detained in an unrelated investigation of cyber harassment. BarakaCity declined to comment.
Mr Patty’s attackers were born in Moscow and legally resided in France as refugees and were known to the police only for petty crimes, the French counter-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said. The attacker lived in the city of Normandy, more than 40 miles from the site of the crime.
In 2018, he lived in the southern French city of Toulouse, where he was a member of a wrestling club subject to scrutiny from authorities as its members appeared to be adopting a more conservative version of Islam.
“Women were being blocked,” said an official in the Toulouse mayor’s office. “Gender mixing was not allowed.”
On Friday, the attacker lurched outside the school, offering students money to identify Mr. Patty before attacking him and leaving his body on the street.
Mr. Patty’s family met with Mr. Macron at the Olysee Palace on Monday to discuss the details of a ceremony at the Sorbonne University that paid tribute to the teacher on Wednesday.
-Nomi Bisburk contributed to this article.
Write Matthew Dalton Matthew. At delton @ wsj.com
Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8