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French teacher suspended in 2015 already for having shown caricatures of prophet

Muslim parents at the majority immigrant "priority college" François Villon in Mulhouse in 2015 described the attitude of a teacher as "aggressive" because he had lectured his students on free speech. He was suspended for four months to “straighten things out” according to the rector.

Published: October 18, 2020, 12:01 pm

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    Thus, it is not the first time that a professor has been threatened about speaking out against religious intolerance. The teacher allegedly had an “aggressive attitude” the parents of students from the “priority college” had complained in 2015. A “priority college” such as François Villon in Mulhouse, is where immigrants are a majority.

    France is reeling after the news on Friday October 16, 2020 of the beheading of a teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine for showing caricatures of Mohammed in class. But it was not the first time that a professor had been threatened, even by his own establishment. Fortunately, this teacher was not assassinated in this instance.

    On January 8, 2015 – on the occasion of the minute of silence in tribute to the attack perpetrated on the premises of Charlie Hebdo – a teacher from Mulhouse had shown his students caricatures of the prophet. The parents then revolted and threatened to riot.

    The professor was soon suspended for four months. The rector of Strasbourg, Jean-Pierre Gougeon, at the time explained to France3 that he wanted to “put things right” by suspending the teacher. He took this measure after having received “testimonies from twenty students”.

    Gougeon said on television: “I said to myself that we had to suspend him. It’s not a permanent suspension, but it just needs to be cleared up.” The Unitary Trade Union Federation (FSU), however, asked for immediate reinstatement, to no avail.

    The murdered Samuel Paty had also been preparing to be sanctioned by the Académie des Yvelines for having dared to show caricatures of the prophet, according to local territorial intelligence agents.

    Freedom of expression seems to be well and truly at risk in France. The note written by territorial intelligence agents was revealed by French weekly Le Point.

    It was sent on October 12 to the hierarchy of the college Bois d’Aulne. In it, all the facts that led to the beheading of a teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16 by an 18-year-old, are stated.

    Samuel Paty’s lessons on freedom of expression, the desire for appeasement expressed by the principal of the college, the e-mails of grievances from certain Muslim families, the inspector sent to remind Samuel Paty of “the rules of secularism and neutrality” and the blatant lies of Brahim Chnina, a relative of a student who had called Samuel Paty a “thug”.

    In a video claiming that the teacher had harmed his daughter, and citing her deteriorating “psychological state”, Chnina incited his religious cohorts to take action. Chnina’s daughter had however not attended this lecture and had not been near the classroom at the time of the facts.

    The incident occurred on October 5 at the Bois d’Aulne college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. The history and geography teacher, Paty, had given a course on freedom of expression and had therefore shown the caricatures of the prophet, but only to some of his students.

    He had invited those who might be embarrassed (Muslim students) to leave the classroom. The controversy then started. The next day, a mother had questioned the principal of the college on the exclusion of her daughter during this course. Samuel Paty then had to explain himself to the family of the young girl and “apologized if he had been clumsy”.

    The teacher had complied, but that did not help the situation, reported Le Point. The administration has received a large number of emails from parents. Some were adamant, with one parent of a student remarking: “Faced with the current climate in France where a climate of Islamophobia has taken hold, why do you seek to divide from an early age?”

    On Friday, October 9, the principal of the college then asked an inspector to come and remind Samuel Paty “of the rules of secularism and neutrality” in order to allow him “to prepare for the scheduled meeting between the teacher, the principal then the parents of students”.

    Another father – whose daughter had not even attended the class – Brahim Chnina, then announced that he wanted to protest in front of the school. He presented himself alongside Abdelhakim Sefrioui, another activist, and member of the Council of Imams of France and already known for a series of Islamist abuses.

    Brahim Chnina called the teacher a “thug”, while Abdelhakim Sefrioui attacked the administration of the college in a video. He accused officials of protecting Samuel Paty: “As there was going to be nothing on the part of the establishment [no follow-up or sanction, editor’s note], we left with the firm intention of mobilizing for action in front of the establishment and in front of the academic inspectorate. But, in the afternoon, the Academic Inspectorate contacted the student’s parent and expressed their astonishment and said that they were going to take harsh measures [against Paty, ed.]…”

    Samuel Paty was beheaded by an Islamist terrorist on Friday, October 16 near the college, before the Inspectorate could suspend of fire him.

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