An assault on the principle of freedom of expression

More on the Paris nightmare:

Samuel Paty, 47, who taught history and geography at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine , north-west of the French capital, was attacked on Friday evening by an 18-year-old man who was shot dead by police shortly afterwards.

Because of a cartoon.

Earlier this month, Paty had shown a class of teenage pupils a caricature from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a moral and civic education class discussion about freedom of speech, sparking a furious response from a number of parents who had demanded his resignation. Before presenting the caricature, the teacher reportedly invited Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished.

Afterwards, the father of a 13-year-old girl who did not leave the class posted a video on YouTube claiming the teacher had shown a “photo of a naked man” claiming he was the “Muslim prophet”. The father called on other parents to join him in a collective action against the teacher, whom he described as a “voyou” (thug).

In other words the father lied and the teacher was murdered.

Jean-François Ricard, France’s anti-terrorist prosecutor, said the teacher had been “assassinated for teaching” and the attack was an assault on the principle of freedom of expression. “This is the second attack to take place during the Charlie Hebdo trial which shows the high level of terrorist threat we face,” Ricard said.

Ricard said: “The first investigation shows the victim had during a 4th year class a discussion about freedom of expression as allowed under the national curriculum.” Later a parent posted a complaint on Facebook about the professor showing a “naked picture” of the Prophet. This same parent went to the school to complain, and later posted a video with the message “stop”. The father then went to the police station with his daughter to lodge an official complaint against the professor for the distribution of “pornographic images”.

That is, an official complaint full of lies.

Macron visited the scene of the attack on Friday evening. “One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught pupils freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not believe,” he said. “This was a cowardly attack on our compatriot. He was the victim of a typical Islamist terrorist attack.”

The hashtag #JeSuisProf (I’m a teacher) was spreading on social media on Saturday. It is reminiscent of #JeSuisCharlie, which emerged as a global wave of support for the journalists and staff of Charlie Hebdo killed in 2015.

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