PARIS (AP) – France’s president has said a domestic militant group “directly involved” in the beheading of a teacher who showed class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the outskirts of Paris last week.
Emmanuel Macron said the group would be ordered to disband on Wednesday when any church that denounced the teacher had to close.
Terrorist investigation is underway into the killing of an 18-year-old Chechen refugee from Moscow. Authorities identified the killer as Abdullakh Ansorov.
Judicial officials said seven people, including two minors, detained in connection with the brutal murder investigation will later go before an investigating magistrate for preliminary offenses. Seven of the 16 people, including five teenagers, were initially taken into custody for questioning. Nine is released. Officials have no authority to quote the name.
Investigators are investigating how the encounter with the killer Patty, who lived in the Normandy town of Evreux, was established, and whether there was any involvement in it and whether the beheading was premeditated.
Speaking after a meeting with local officials working to combat extremist Islamists, Macron added that other associations and individuals are being shut down or silenced on the radar.
Meanwhile, more than a thousand people gathered in a drizzle, beheading Samuel Patty as he left school in the Confluence-Saint-Honorine northwest of Paris. Bouquets were piled up in front of the school.
Earlier this month, Patty showed caricatures of the Prophet of Islam in her class to discuss freedom of expression. His civic course led to parental complaints and threats.
Speaking in the Seine-St-Denis region, northeast of Paris, Macron reiterated on Tuesday that “clear results are needed to counter the ideology of the (French) republic’s destruction.”
Macron said at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that he would order the disbandment of a group called Collective Check Yassin. Known as the slain leader of the Palestinian Hamas, the group was founded in the early 2000s by one of the detainees for questioning. Macron did not provide details on how the group was directly involved in the attack.
Interior Minister Gerald Dormain later told BFMTV that the suspect had helped spread the harsh message of a student’s father against a teacher following the spread of fever on social media among some Muslim individuals or groups.
The beheading resonated with the great imam of al-Azhar, a Sunni Muslim center of learning in Cairo, in a message read to faith leaders at an interfaith prayer service in Rome on Tuesday that separated all Muslims from the attack itself. Calling beheading “sinful and sinful,” he said, “intellectual integrity is compromised by insulting religions and abusing sacred symbols under the slogan of freedom of expression.”
Macron called for immediate and concrete action in the case. The French president is fighting what he calls “separatism” in reference to Islamic extremism, which officials say has created a parallel world in the country that opposes French values.
A church in the northeastern Paris suburb of Pontin has been closed for six months since Wednesday night. A sign posted by the regional prefecture at the entrance to the church said the church would be closed for six months – and offenders could face up to six months in prison.
Pantin Church is being punished for broadcasting on social media a message from an angry father who asked him to rally against the teacher. The father quoted his 13-year-old daughter as saying that Muslims had been asked to leave the classroom – a version in which Patty himself competed, according to newspaper reports.
Authorities say the mosque has been in existence for a long time, following the Salafist path of strict interpretation of the Muslim holy book.
Pantin is also the home of an 18-year-old Pakistani refugee. Three weeks ago, two people were attacked and injured with a meat cleaver.
A national memorial service will be held Wednesday evening in the courtyard of the University of Sorbonne, a centuries-old symbol of the “Enlightenment spirit,” to pay tribute to Patrick, the French president said.
The report was contributed by Associated Press Journalists Nicholas Gariga of Pontine, Sylvie Corbett of Paris and Nicole Winfield of Rome.
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