France: President describes teacher’s beheading as “Islamist terrorist attack”
Saturday, 17 October 2020
“Obscurantism and the violence that accompanies it will not win,” French President Emmanuel Macron stressed on travelling to the Paris suburb where a teacher was beheaded on Friday afternoon in what Macron described as an “Islamic terrorist attack.”
The victim had recently shown his students caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed, according to early results from the investigation. He was beheaded on Friday at about 5:00 PM near the College du Bois d’Aulne.
“We shall all come together, they will not pass. They will not divide us. It’s what they are looking for and we all need to stand together,” Macron said on Friday evening in a brief speech.
The French President met with teachers at the College du Bois d’Aulne, the secondary school in Confians-Saine-Honorine, Yvelines, where the victim taught.
“One of our fellow citizens was murdered today because he was a teacher, because he taught students freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not to believe,” Macron said, twisting his face mask in his hands.
“Our fellow countryman was cowardly attacked, he was the victim of a characterised Islamist terrorist attack.”
Hailing France’s teachers, Macron stressed: “We are with them, the entire nation will be there, at their side, today and tomorrow, to protect and defend them, to enable them to exercise their profession, which is the most beautiful one of all: moulding free citizens.”
“It is not by chance that, this evening, it’s a teacher that this terrorist has cut down, because he wanted to cut down the republic in its values, enlightenment, the possibility of making free citizens of our children, wherever they come from, whether they believe or not, whatever their religion,” the French President added.
His presumed assailant was killed by police in the neighbouring town of Eragny (Val-d’Oise).
The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office, PNAT, told AFP it had immediately launched an investigation into the attack as “murder in relation with a terrorist undertaking” and “criminal association in relation with a terrorist undertaking.”
President Macron visited the area with the ministers of Home Affairs, Gérald Darmanin, and Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, soon after the attack.