Students pay tribute to beheaded French teacher who feared for his safety after teaching a lesson about freedom of expression


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Tributes have been pouring in for the French teacher who was beheaded on Friday afternoon after teaching his pupils about freedom of speech and showing them controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old history teacher at College du Bois d’Aulne, was attacked in the northwestern Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday afternoon by an 18-year-old man who was later shot dead by police.

The brutal attack has shocked the country as the hashtag #JeSuisSamuel (I am Samuel) began trending on social media, similar to the #JeSuisCharlie movement that went viral after the 2015 attack on the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. 

Earlier this month, Paty had shown his pupils a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad while discussing the Hebdo case in a lesson that was part of an obligatory “moral and civil education” course that all primary and secondary French schools have in their curriculum.

He gave Muslim students the opportunity to leave the classroom if they thought they might be offended, according to multiple media reports.

Il s’appelait #SamuelPaty.
Il honore à jamais l’école de la République.
Il formait des citoyennes et des citoyens libres.
Il a été lâchement assassiné.
Nous poursuivons le combat en son nom. #EragnySurOise #jesuisprofesseur #JeSuisSamuel #Eragny #CharlieHebdo

— Rachid Temal (@RachidTemal) October 17, 2020


The history teacher’s lesson however, sparked complaints from several Muslim parents. One family lodged a legal complaint while the father of a 13-year-old girl who chose not to leave the class posted a YouTube video complaining about the teacher.

In the video, the father said that Paty had shown a “photo of a naked man” claiming he was the “Muslim prophet,” according to the Guardian. He also called Paty a “voyou” (thug) and asked other parents to join him in collective action against the teacher.

The video has since been removed.

Paty had received several unspecified threats in the days following the lesson. He had been “concerned for his safety,” another teacher at the school said, according to The Sun.

Heartbroken colleagues and students laid white roses in front of the school on Saturday to pay tribute to the teacher, described as someone who “really loved his job.”

Some teachers at the school were holding signs reading “Je Suis Enseignant” (“I am a teacher”).

One of Paty’s former students, Martial, 16, said Paty “really wanted to teach us things — sometimes we had debates,” according to the BBC.

“When I saw ‘teacher — Bois d’Aulne — beheading’, I made the direct link: ‘it’s Mr. Paty’,” said the 16-year-old who had run to school from his soccer training on Friday after he heard about the attack, according to the Huffington Post

Another former student, Nathan, described Paty as being a “small” man who had short brown hair and glasses and “always had a nice shirt,” the Huffington Post reported.

Parents also took to social media to pay their respects. One father wrote on Twitter that his daughter “is in pieces, terrorized by the violence …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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