The French Public Prosecutor reported that the history professor who was beheaded the day before in Paris received threats on the Internet before his murder, for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students in class.
Attorney General Jean-Francois Ricard said in a televised press conference, Saturday, that the father of one of the students called for the dismissal of the 47-year-old teacher, Samuel Patti, and launched an online call to “move” against him after the class on “freedom of expression.”
Patty was beheaded outside his school in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, northwest of Paris, while the perpetrator died after being attacked by police.
The Russian embassy in Paris identified the attacker as Abdullah Anzurov, whose family arrived in France when he was six years old and applied for asylum.
The embassy stated that the 18-year-old attacker obtained residency this year and had no connection to Russia.
Nine people were arrested, including the student’s father and another person who was on the French intelligence services’ list of individuals under surveillance.
The Public Prosecutor stated that the school received threats after the class that took place in early October, during which the teacher displayed the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The schoolgirl’s father accused Patti of spreading “pornography”.
The student and her father filed a criminal complaint against the professor, who in turn filed a complaint about being subjected to defamation, according to Ricard.
The father published Pati’s name and the school’s address in a post on social media days before the killing, which French President Emmanuel Macron described as an “Islamic terrorist attack.”
Earlier this week, he released a video in which he said that Islam and the Prophet Muhammad were “insulted” at school.
Ricard did not clarify whether the attacker had any connection to the school, students or parents, or whether he acted independently in response to the online campaign.
Eyewitnesses reported that he was seen at the school on Friday afternoon asking about Patty’s whereabouts.
Ricard said that a picture of the teacher’s body was found, which the attacker posted on Twitter, accompanied by a message admitting to his killing, on a phone next to his body after police killed him. He added that the account belonged to the attacker.
Twitter quickly deleted the post and said it closed the account for violating company policy.
According to Ricard, the message said, “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful … To (President Emmanuel) Macron, the leader of the infidels, you executed one of your dogs of hell who dared and underestimated (the Prophet) Muhammad.”
The Attorney General stated that the attacker was carrying a knife, an air rifle, and ammunition. He shot the police and tried to stab the officers as they moved to surround him, before shooting him nine times.
This is the second attack of its kind since the trial sessions began last month for the alleged accomplices of the perpetrators of the attack that targeted in January 2015 the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, unleashing a wave of anger across the Islamic world.
The newspaper reprinted the cartoons on September 1, at the start of the court sessions.
Last month, a 25-year-old Pakistani youth carried out a machete attack in front of the former headquarters of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, leaving two people seriously injured.
Among those arrested were four close family members of the attacker and two people who police said were in contact with him, according to the Public Prosecutor.
The police also arrested a friend of the student’s father, who went with him to see the principal and demand that Patty be fired.
The said friend was originally on the French intelligence services’ list of people under surveillance as a “radical Islamist”. Ricard indicated that there was an arrest warrant for the student’s half-sister, who joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria.
“I am a teacher”
But the attorney general made it clear that the attacker himself was unknown to the French intelligence services.
Macron raised anger among Muslims this month when he said Islam was facing a “crisis” while unveiling a plan to defend France’s secular values.
The president visited the crime scene on Friday and pledged that “the entire nation” would stand by the teachers in order to “protect and defend them,” adding, “Darkness will not triumph.” On Saturday, his office announced the holding of a “national memorial” for Patti.
On Sunday, the ministers who form the French Defense Council are due to meet to discuss the killing, while mourning is expected to take place on Wednesday.
On Saturday, hundreds of students, teachers and parents flocked to the Patti School where they laid white roses.
Some carried banners reading “I am a professor” and “I am Samuel,” recalling the “I am Charlie” slogans raised around the world after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in 2015.
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