The French government on Wednesday issued an order to dissolve a national militant Islamic group after the beheading last week near Paris of a teacher who had shown students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the Cheikh Yassin collective group was formally banned at a Cabinet meeting because it was “involved in, linked to Friday’s attack” and was used to promote anti-Republican hate speech.
Other groups will be disbanded “in the coming weeks” for similar reasons, Attal said.
He also confirmed that the government had ordered the closure of a mosque in the northeastern suburb of Paris, in Pantin, for six months.
A terrorist investigation is underway into the murder of Professor Samuel Paty.
Authorities identified the killer as Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee born in Moscow, who was later shot dead by police.
A justice official said that seven people arrested in connection with an investigation into the grisly murder, including two minors, were due to appear before an investigating judge on Wednesday for possible preliminary charges.
The seven were among 16 people, including five teenagers, initially held for questioning. Nine are in the process of being released. The official was not authorized to be cited by name.
Named after a slain Palestinian Hamas leader, the Sheikh Yassin collective was founded in the early 2000s by a man who was among those detained for questioning in the teacher’s murder.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on the French news channel BFMTV that the person in question had helped broadcast a message calling for mobilization against the teacher. The post, prepared by a student’s father, was part of what increasingly appeared to be a case of a spiraling fever on social media among some Muslim individuals or groups.
The Pantin mosque is punished for having relayed the message of the angry father on social networks. The father quoted his 13-year-old daughter as saying the teacher asked Muslims to leave the classroom – a version which was disputed by Paty himself, according to media reports.
Authorities say the mosque has long had an imam following the Salafi path, a rigorous interpretation of the Muslim holy book.
On Tuesday evening, thousands of people gathered to honor Paty where he was beheaded as he left school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of Paris. A national commemorative event is scheduled for Wednesday evening in the courtyard of the Sorbonne University. AP