A history teacher in France was decapitated by a teenager after he showed cartoons of the prophet Muhammad to his students in class, NBC News reported.
The teen ambushed the teacher outside a middle school in the leafy Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in broad daylight in front of shocked witnesses. He shouted “Allahu Akbar!” [God is great] after severing the teacher’s head.
The teacher, identified as Samuel Paty, 47, told Muslim students they could leave the classroom before he showed the cartoons as part of a lesson about freedom of expression.
Cartoons mocking the prophet were published in the weekly satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. The publication’s offices were breached by Islamist gunmen who killed 12 magazine staffers in retaliation for publishing the cartoons in January 2015.
Videos published on YouTube show French police arriving at the scene and ordering the teen to put his weapon down before they shot and killed him.
The teen was an 18-year-old Chechen who was born in Moscow, NBC reported. He was wearing a vest that could have contained explosives. A gun was found near his body.
After the attack on the teacher, the teen tweeted:
“From Abdullah, the Servant of Allah, to [French President] Macron, the leader of the infidels, I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Muhammad… calm his fellows before you are inflicted harsh punishment.”
The teen also shared a photo of the teacher’s severed head on the ground. The post was removed by Twitter.
After the murder, police detained nine people including the parents of the killer, a minor child, and several parents who complained to the school about Paty.
A colleague of the teacher posted on Facebook, saying the teacher expressed fears to the school administration about threats to his life. The school admin reportedly advised him “not to make waves.”
Several Muslim parents demanded his resignation. The parents of a 13-year-old girl had previously complained to the school after the teacher showed the prophet Muhammad cartoons to students on another occasion.
“We are all cowards,” the colleague wrote on Facebook. “We have the blood of his decapitated head on our hands. I am ashamed. No one wants to teach in the Muslim suburbs… Unfortunately, my colleagues supported the parents who came to complain. The anger grew.”
The colleague said other teachers gave out Paty’s address and the time he would exit the school. The colleague said he saw the teachers “celebrate” after Paty was killed in the street.