Teacher knifed to death in France after showing class cartoons of Prophet Mohammad

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A middle school history teacher in France was knifed to death near the school where earlier this month he had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, considered blasphemous by Muslims, French officials said on Friday.

The attacker was shot dead by a police patrol a few streets away from the scene of the attack late on Friday afternoon, in a residential suburb north-west of Paris.

“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the scene of the attack.

“Our compatriot was flagrantly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack,” Macron said. “They won’t win… We will act. Firmly, And quickly. You can count on my determination.”

The incident carried echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, unleashing divisions that are still casting a pall over French society.

The Financial Times reports that the teacher had recently shown satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his secondary school class in a discussion on freedom of expression at a school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of the capital, according to police sources quoted by French media. 

Police said they shot dead the suspected assailant, who was still carrying his weapon, in the street nearby. He was reported to be an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin and to have shouted “Allahu akbar!” (God is great) before being killed. 

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