The Murder of Samuel Paty

I It was Friday, October 16, 2020, the last day of school before the All Saints’ Day break at the Bois-d’Aulne middle school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on the outskirts of Paris. In front of the school, a man named Abdullakh Abouzeidovich Anzorov decapitated Samuel Paty, a professor of history, geography, and civics. The knife-wielding executioner was an eighteen-year-old Chechen born in Moscow who had been granted political refugee status with his family in France. In the minutes following the brutal act, the killer posted on his Twitter account a photo of the victim’s severed and bloodied head on the pavement, along with this prepared comment: In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Merciful. From Abdullah, the Servant of Allah, to Marcon (sic), the leader of the infidels, I executed one of your dogs from hell who dared to belittle Muhammad (Sal’am); calm those like him before you are severely punished. The teacher had already been the subject of an online harassment campaign that was begun on October 7 by Brahim Chnina, the father of a girl in one of his classes. The reason was that Samuel Paty had shown the students in his civics class a cartoon of the Prophet, depicted naked, that appeared in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. It was a pedagogical exercise designed to stimulate reflections on freedom of expression and blasphemy. Paty had been careful to excuse anyone likely to be offended by the picture on religious grounds from the classroom. The father, however, accused him of singling out Muslims and ejecting them. With such an interpretation, clearly designed to be prejudicial, he wanted to prove that they had been purposely discriminated against. It turned out later that his daughter had not even been in class that day.  Chnina senior, born in Oran, Algeria,

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