Three weeks after the knife attack that left two seriously injured in the vicinity of the former headquarters of ‘Charlie Hebdo’, France once again activated the anti-terrorist alarm after discovering the body of a beheaded man in Conflans Saint-Honorine, northwest of Paris, the afternoon of this Friday, October 16. According to police sources cited by the newspaper ‘Le Monde’, the victim, a professor at the institute of history and geography, would have taught his students Muhammad cartoons in the framework of a class on freedom of expression.
The National Antiterrorist Prosecutor’s Office will be in charge of clarifying the details of the event within the framework of an investigation opened by “murder with connection to terrorist criminal association& rdquor ;. The man allegedly responsible for the attack, who had resisted arrest, was killed by the police in the neighboring commune of Eragny. The authorities were forced to establish an important security perimeter fearing the presence of explosive devices in the body of the aggressor. According to the newspaper ‘Le Parisien’, the assailant would be a 48-year-old man of Algerian nationality, although other sources assure that he was an 18-year-old man born in Moscow.
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, returned to Paris from Morocco, where he was on an official trip, to join the crisis cell opened after the event. The French President himself, Emmanuel Macron, and his prime minister, Jean Castex, went to the scene.
“Islamism has declared war on us”
In the National Assembly, in an atmosphere of strong commotion, the president of the parliamentary session, Hugues Renson, wanted to “recognize the memory & rdquor; of the deceased professor and condemn this “abominable attack”. The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, was quick to join the wave of recognition and condemnation: “Tonight, the Republic has been attacked with the despicable murder of one of its servants, a teacher. I think of him and his family. Nur unity and steadfastness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism. We’ll deal with it & rdquor ;, he wrote on his Twitter account.
The reactions in the political field were immediate: “A professor beheaded for having shown the cartoons of ‘Charlie Hebdo’: in France, we find ourselves at this level of unbearable barbarism. Islamism has declared war on us: we must expel it from our country by force & rdquor ;, the leader of the extreme right, Marine Le Pen, wrote on her social networks. “Words are laughable to describe the anger after the attack […] as will the candles and speeches […] We must wage a real war against the poison of radical Islam […] to eradicate it & rdquor ;, launched in the same tone the leader of the senators of the conservative party Les Républicains (LR), Bruno Retailleau, on his Twitter account.
Islamist terrorism, a latent threat
The event once again puts on the table the scale of the threat of Islamist terrorism in France. As did the attack on September 25, a few meters from the former headquarters of the satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’. After attacking two people with a knife, the suspect acknowledged during police interrogations that his intention was none other than to attack the journalists of the weekly, pushed by the “anger against ‘Charlie’“ after your decision to republish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, on the occasion of the opening of the judicial process against the attacks committed in January 2015.
In this context, on October 2, Emmanuel Macron presented his project against the “Islamist separatism& rdquor;, that is, against those who in the name of Islam would want to take control in different parts of the French territory. “There is a radical Islamism that leads to denying the laws of the Republic, to trivialize violence and some citizens to choose the worst,” said the President of the Republic then. Is legal offensive against radical Islamism It would aim to strengthen the ideological and financial surveillance of educational, charitable and cultural associations actually engaged in indoctrination and proselytizing.