French Muslim leaders pay respects to murdered teacher

Muslim leaders are among many to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher killed in France last week

20 October 2020
Muslim leaders pay tribute to Samuel Paty outside school. French Muslim leaders pay respects to murdered teacherThe leading imams and writers prayed together outside the school where Samuel Paty worked and was killed
By Joanna York

Muslim leaders gathered outside teacher Samuel Paty's former collège, Bois d’Aulne, yesterday morning (October 19) to pay their respects, after Mr Paty was killed nearby three days earlier.

Imam for the Paris suburb of Drancy, Hassen Chalghoumi, gave a speech to the media present at the scene stating: “We are all Samuel Paty; he is a martyr for freedom.”

Mr Paty was decapitated outside the school by an Islamic extremist, after showing controversial images of the prophet Muhammed in a class he was teaching on freedom of expression.

In an emotional speech, Mr Chalghoumi strongly condemned the actions of Mr Paty’s killer, calling him a “criminal” and a “terrorist”.

This comes after thousands gathered in tribute to Mr Paty this weekend in France.

Minute of silence in European parliament

In Brussels, the European Parliament paid tribute to My Paty yesterday morning, opening its meeting with a minute’s silence in his honour.

President Davis Sassoli told the assembly: “It is with great emotion that I suggest we undertake a minute’s silence in honour of Samuel Paty [and] all victims of terrorism and all those who fight terrorism every day through their jobs, their commitment and by example.”

Mr Sassoli went on to express his support for teachers. He said: “Terror is fought with education, through teaching - something Samuel Paty believed and practiced.

“This is a daily fight, which millions of teachers engage in with courage and determination. They need our support.”

 

Minute’s silence to be held in French schools

A minute’s silence will also be held in French schools when students return after the holidays, Minister for Education Jean-Michel Blanquer told news source BFMTV this morning (October 20).

He said the tribute would be held in all schools “without exception”, and would be followed up with “teaching for students with all angles covered”. 

Mr Paty to receive posthumous légion d’honneur

Mr Blanquer confirmed that Mr Paty will receive a posthumous légion d’honneur, the highest French order of merit, and he will be made a commander of the Palme académique, a national order for services to education.

A national ceremony paying tribute to Mr Paty will take place on Wednesday, October 21, from 19:00 in the Sorbonne. The university has been chosen for the ceremony as it symbolises the spirit of the Enlightenment, knowledge and education in France. 

Mr Paty’s family, current politicians, and former presidents and prime ministers have been invited to attend. 

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