Beheaded Samuel Paty (47) was seen as a passionate and committed teacher

According to colleagues at the Collège du Bois d’Aulne, Paty would have shown a nude photo of Prophet Mohammed to his students during a lesson on freedom of expression.

Threats

Paty received threats from various quarters. They came from angry parents, among others. They are said to have called for action against Paty. It was also reported to the police.

The relevant Mohammed image that Paty is said to have shown is the same as the one Charlie Hebdo published in 2015. The satirical newspaper Hebdo was the target of a terrorist attack five years ago.

Perpetrator (18) shot dead

Yesterday at 5:00 PM, Paty was attacked near the school and decapitated with a kitchen knife. The suspect is 18-year-old Aboulakh A., a Russian citizen of Chechen descent. He is said to have read about Paty’s lessons on social media. The suspect was shot by the police.

French anti-terrorist units have started an investigation. French President Macron calls the event a terror attack. Nine people – including family members of the suspect – have been arrested.

Commemorated

Today, students and colleagues commemorated Paty. All day long flowers were laid at the entrance of the school. “We have come to pay tribute to our teacher. He was an excellent teacher and very benevolent,” says one of the students against the French newspaper.

One student describes Paty as ‘a loved one and a very committed teacher’. She was at the class where Paty showed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. “Those who didn’t want to see it were allowed to leave the classroom. He gave us the choice to be ‘Charlie’ or not.”

The student says fellow students saw the lesson as a criticism of Islam, not a topic to be debated.

Samuel Paty was married and the father of a family.

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