A French teacher was beheaded by an Islamic extremist on Friday in the outskirts of Paris for showing cartoons related to Prophet Muhammad, in a class meant for tutoring students about freedom of speech and its contours.
The decapitation, which has invited global outrage against the menace of religious extremism and public sympathy for the victims of the same was carried out by an assailant whose identity has not been ascertained yet. In all likelihood, the Islamist undertook the killing to teach the French history teacher a lesson and set an example for others to learn from, that the alleged ‘caricaturing’ of the Prophet would always result in unpleasant consequences.
The attack happened on the outskirts of Paris at around 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) near a middle school where the teacher worked in, located in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a north-western suburb around 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the city centre. The police arrived at the spot after receiving a call about a suspicious person loitering in the area. Upon arrival, the police team was received with loud shouts of ‘Allah hu Akbar’ by the assailant, who was in possession of a blade. This was after he had killed the History teacher, by cutting his throat. The police shot the assailant, which led to him sustaining grievous injuries and subsequently succumbing to them.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who in recent past has come across as an ideologically transformed man, called the horrific incident one which bore hallmarks of being “an Islamist terrorist attack”. While visiting the scene, Macron also said that the entire nation stood ready to defend teachers and that “obscurantism will not win”. As of now, four people, including a minor, all of whom were related to the extremist, has been arrested by the police.
According to AFP, the controversy erupted when the history teacher politely asked his class’ Muslim students to temporarily leave the lecture as what he was about to show had the potential to hurt their sentiments.
The history teacher is said to have shown the class a cartoon on Prophet Muhammad. In Islam, even the portrayal of the Prophet is considered blasphemous. The cartoon was reportedly shown to the class as a part of the students being taught about freedom of speech and expression. Little did the teacher know that this would lead to him being killed in the most brutal manner by an Islamist fanatic.
France was first introduced to a major spate of Islamist extremism in 2015, when, over a series of three days, 130 people were killed by terrorists. The attacks are said to have been triggered by Charlie Hebdo’s caricatural portrayal of Prophet Muhammad, following which the publication’s office was also brought under attack. Ever since, 250 individuals in the country have lost their lives to terrorism.
Over the years, increasing crimes relating to religious extremism have transformed President Emmanuel Macron from an all-welcoming multicultural-proponent, to a more conservative and sterner leader, who puts the safety and welfare of French people over and above all others.
The sharp response from Macron to the decapitation of the history teacher serves as a testimony to the fact that the French President has had just about enough of extremism, and that he will now not shy away from hammering all such elements who pose a security threat to France. The French President only recently cracked down on separatism fuelled within France by ‘political Islam’. Macron had hit out against the Islamists as he said that it was “unacceptable” for anyone to disobey the laws of the French republic in the name of a religion or a foreign power.
He recently announced measures to tighten controls on foreign financing of mosques, to end the nomination by Algeria, Morocco and Turkey of 300 Imams a year in France, and withdraw from this year onwards permission for foreign governments to control language courses of close to 80,000 pupils learning Arabic, Turkish and other languages from their countries of origin — a system he called “an important vector of separatism”, given that many of the teachers did not speak French or care about French culture. Furthermore, at least 73 mosques and Islamic private schools across France have been closed by authorities since January, in a bid to combat “extremist Islam”.
Truly, countries across Europe have for quite some time been paying a heavy price for their ‘open doors’ policy to refugees, most of whom are Muslims. France has itself been a primary target for those who hold nothing but absolute contempt for western culture and society. While the realities have now started to wake the French leadership from their liberal slumber, US Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has vowed to lift the ban imposed by President Donald Trump on “Muslim countries”.
President Trump had imposed a travel ban on several Muslim majority countries, including Iran and Syria, through a series of executive orders. In February, the travel ban was expanded to include six additional countries, including Nigeria, in a bid to curb extremist and terror activities in the United States.
With Joe Biden promising to lift the travel ban imposed on such nations, in the wake of the brutal French killing by an Islamist no less, the Biden campaign could be in for a massive hit. Most certainly, the developments in France will also have a political impact among the minds of the American voters, who will choose their safety and security over lousy liberal ideas of multiculturism and ‘open borders’.