Thousands of people he sees manifested this sunday in the Place de la République de Paris and other French cities to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, the history teacher who was beheaded on Friday in the Paris region. Brandishing banners that read “No to the totalitarianism of thought” or “I am a teacher”, the crowd, in a Paris with a curfew and mandatory mask, paid tribute to the teacher, who was killed after showing Muhammad cartoons to his students. The image was repeated with other cities, such as Toulouse.
The possible involvement of radical Islamist movements in the slaughter on Friday of a history professor near Paris by an 18-year-old Russian from Chechen worries intelligence services and the French government.
The presence of radical Islamist activist Abdelhakim Sefrioui among the eleven people already arrested – two more this Sunday – in connection with the investigation into the murder of Samuel Paty has reinforced these suspicions. The murderer, identified as 19-year-old Chechen Abdulak Abuezidovic, was killed shortly after the crime by the shots of police officers who tried to arrest him.
These “minority Islamist movements seek to convince Muslims that France is an Islamophobic country. They are trying to use them,” Laurent Núñez, national coordinator for intelligence and the fight against terrorism, told AFP. “And at the slightest incident, they go to work.”
Complaints on social networks
Sefrioui, known to the police, is the founder of the Sheikh Yasin collective, named after the founder of Hamas, assassinated by the Israeli army in 2004. In early October, he accompanied the father of a student from the school where Paty taught to ask the dismissal of the teacher, who showed caricatures of Muhammad to his students.
A few days ago, introducing himself as a “member of the Council of Magnets of France”, he had also released a video on YouTube in which he denounced the teacher, calling him a “bully”. It was also Sefrioui who, in another video broadcast on the same platform, questioned the student and called for mobilization.
However, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard did not speak on Saturday in his press conference of any connection between this man and the killer.
A source close to the government highlights the role of “hate messages on social networks that feed young people.” The atmosphere of hatred in the networks is accompanied by a resurgence of radical Islamist movements, according to Nuñez, who points out the current context, with “the trial of Charlie (Hebdo), the republication of cartoons and President Macron’s speech on a forthcoming law aimed at reinforcing secularism and fighting against Islamist separatism “.
The trial is that of the accomplices in the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo, where 12 people died, in retaliation for the publication of those same cartoons.