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The militant Islamist, Abdelhakim Sefrioui, Screenshot from YouTube

France: National tribute to be held for beheaded teacher

Large demonstrations of support are expected across France after the beheading of Samuel Paty, a teacher decapitated because he had shown a cartoon of Mohammed to his pupils. But the protests come late, too late for the history teacher who spoke about freedom of expression in his class.

Published: October 19, 2020, 12:50 pm

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    Around a thousand people gathered on Saturday afternoon in front of the college of Bois d’Aulne a Conflans-Saint-Honorine (Yvelines) where Samuel Paty, (47) and the father of a family, was a teacher of history-geography at this establishment, French daily Le Matin reported.

    The teacher, known for his investment in his pupils, was “very well-thought of,” said one French parent, whose 13-year-old son attends the college. In the morning, white roses were placed at the entrance to the college in this residential quarter, where pupils and parents are still in a state of shock.

    Representatives of the principal political parties, associations, and unions will demonstrated on Sunday in Paris at the emblematic Square of the Republic, and in numerous other cities. A national tribute will be held on Wednesday, the Élysée announced. And a defense meeting, presided over by Emmanuel Macron, took place on Sunday. “Other expressions and announcements are planned after the meetings,” according to the executive.

    On 4 March 2020 the killer had obtained a residence permit valid until March 2030 to stay in France. He had refugee status, and resided at Evreux in Normandy.

    Ten people were in custody on Saturday, including the parents, grandfather, and younger brother of the assailant, detained in Evreux (Eure). Also in custody is the father of one pupil who had called for action against the teacher. He was placed in custody at Chanteloup-les-Vignes.

    The man who accompanied this individual to the college to complain about the teacher, and who interviewed the daughter of this parent of a pupil in a video, the militant Islamist, Abdelhakim Sefrioui, has been active in France since the 2000s. Both Sefrioui and his companion were also arrested.

    Known to the intelligence services for years already, this radical Islamist and self-proclaimed imam, is one of the key players in the drama that led to the beheading of Samuel Paty. The militant had denounced the “irresponsible and aggressive” behavior of the teacher, a consequence according to him of “the call of the President of the Republic to hate the Muslims”. He is a public figure close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    “It’s been five to six years, that children of 12-13 years, Muslims, have been shocked, have been attacked, have been humiliated in front of their comrades,” Sefrioui said in his diatribe against the teacher.

    Born in 1959 in Morocco, he became French after his marriage to a convert who militates with him. The imam is also listed on the S-file for radicals.

    More than 8000 people have been registered in the file for terrorist radicalization (FSPRT) the French Minister of the Interior Darmanin announced, specifying that the “terrorist risk of Sunni origin remained the main threat facing our country”.

    There are currently 231 foreigners on French territory in an irregular situation and under surveillance for radicalization “that we must expel”, including 180 currently imprisoned, Darmanin added.

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