Macron called Paty the kind of teacher people never forget: a man who was respectful of his students and had read the Muslim holy book, the Quran.
Paty – who was posthumously awarded the highest honor of France’s Legion of Honor – had become the face of France, the president said, of the nation’s determination to destroy terrorists and thwart the Islamist extremism.
Macron’s speech was one of a number of protests of anger and grief in France after Paty’s horrific beheading last Friday as he returned home from the Paris school where he taught. French prosecutors have charged seven people with the murder.
Among them, two teenagers, part of a group of students paid by Paty’s assassin to identify him. The assailant, Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, was shot dead by police shortly after stabbing and beheading Paty. Officials say Anzorov was apparently motivated by anger after the teacher showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on free speech.
Also accused of Paty’s death, said French counterterrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard, he was the father of one of Paty’s students who launched an online hate campaign against the teacher because of the cartoons – with a well-known Islamist radical who contributed to this campaign.
This is France’s second terrorist attack in less than a month, and the government’s response has been swift. Police have carried out a number of raids and promise to expel more than 250 foreign-born radicals and to shut down institutions allegedly linked to radical Islam.
Among those targeted by the dissolution is the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France for allegedly supporting the father’s hate campaign against Paty. But the organization’s leader, Jawad Bachare, dismissed the accusations, saying his group was being used as a scapegoat by a government that cannot protect its nation.
Many French people responded to these latest attacks with protests and silent marches in defense of freedom of expression and secularism.