Samuel Paty, a French high school history teacher, was beheaded on October 16 in Conflans Sainte-Honorine, a suburb northwest of Paris, for showing his class caricatures of Islam prophet Mohammed.
According to the police, Paty was killed on the street by a man bearing a knife and airsoft gun (which fires plastic pellets). The police shot the suspect dead after refusing to set his arms down and behaved in a “threatening manner.”
A probe into the incident was ongoing, according to the French anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office.
Previously, the teacher received threats for opening a discussion “for a debate” over the caricatures some weeks ago, according to published reports. Parents of students in the school said that these images were deemed blasphemous by Muslims, as part of his effort to start a discussion on freedom of expression. He advised Muslim students to leave the classroom as he would be showing these pictures, a move seen as done out of respect for their faith.
France has been the setting of attacks committed by religious extremists. Just last month, it was reported that an immigrant from Pakistan charged at two people with a meat cleaver outside the offices of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. This same place was where Islamic militants five years ago shot magazine employees for their publication of Mohammed cartoons.
The incident came hot on the heels of the French government proposing a bill to address Islamist radicals who are claimed to be “creating a parallel society outside the values of the French republic.”