Macron speaks of an “existential” fight against terrorism after the murder of a teacher in France | France

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President Emmanuel Macron has said France’s fight against Islamic terrorism was “existential” after the murder of a teacher after showing his class caricatures of Prophet Muhammad from the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper.

Macron, who visited the site near a school in the Paris suburbs, said the victim had been “murdered” and his killer was seeking to “attack the republic and its values”. “This is our battle and it is existential. They [terrorists] will not succeed… They will not divide us.

The President spoke after French police shot dead a man who beheaded a teacher with a large kitchen knife. Officials quickly announced that the murder was under investigation by an anti-terrorism judge.

Four people, including a minor, have since been arrested.

The victim was a 47-year-old history and geography teacher – the subjects are taught together in France – but who also provided compulsory “moral and civil education” courses. It was within the framework of these, and speaking of freedom of expression, that the teacher showed the pupils, aged 12 to 14, the caricatures. This prompted complaints from a number of relatives and one family filed a lawsuit.

The 18-year-old suspect, born in Moscow, reportedly shared photos of the attack on social media. According to some reports, he had Chechen roots. He was considered a “complete stranger” to the country’s intelligence services, but he had a small criminal record.

The alarm was raised at 5 p.m. on Friday when local police informed their national colleagues that a body had been found in front of a school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in Yvelines, a suburb northwest of central Paris.

The killer was pursued by the police but refused to surrender and was shot several times after threatening the police. Officers cordoned off the area after fearing the assailant was wearing a suicide vest.

Counterterrorism prosecutors said they were treating the murder as a “terrorist organization assassination.”

After the disputed lesson, an angry parent posted a video on YouTube complaining about the teacher. Another parent posted below the video on Friday night, defending the professor, writing, “I am a parent of a student at this college. The professor just showed Charlie Hebdo cartoons as part of a history lesson on free speech. He asked the Muslim students to leave the class if they wanted to, out of respect… He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage critical thinking in his students, always with respect and intelligence. Tonight, I am sad, for my daughter, but also for the teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without being afraid of being killed? “

The video was taken down on Friday evening.

The mayor of D’Éragny-sur-Oise Thibault Humbert told journalists about the “horror” of the events in his town. “It is a barbaric act,” he told BFMTV. .

Macron, gloomy and visibly moved, spoke briefly after visiting the college where the murdered professor worked. “One of our compatriots was assassinated today for teaching. He taught his students freedom of speech, the freedom to believe or not to believe. It was a cowardly attack. He was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack, ”Macron said.

“Tonight, my thoughts are with all his relatives, his family, his colleagues at the college where we saw the principal show courage last week. In the face of pressure [from parents], she did her job with remarkable duty.

“Tonight, I want to say to teachers all over France, we are with them, the whole nation is with them today and tomorrow. We must protect them, defend them, allow them to do their job and educate the citizens of tomorrow.

The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, also expected at the scene, tweeted: “Tonight, it was the republic that was attacked with this despicable murder of one of his servants, a teacher. My thoughts tonight are with his family. Our unity and steadfastness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamic terrorism. We will take care of it.

Paris has been on high alert since two journalists from a film production company were stabbed outside the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo three weeks ago.

In January 2015, Islamist terrorists Saïd and Chérif Kouachi shot dead 12 people in and around the Charlie Hebdo offices. The next day, gunman Amédy Coulibaly shot dead a policewoman and killed four Jews at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. The Kouachi and Coulibaly brothers were killed in separate shootings with the police.

The trial of 14 people suspected of being linked to the January 2015 terrorist attacks is currently being held in a Paris court and is expected to continue until November.

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