The murder of a schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech has rekindled a debate in France over secularism and the state’s role in regulating free expression
The murder of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty has rekindled a long-running debate in France about secularism, free expression and the role of the state. Paty had shown his class two of the cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad that were originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Ten days later, after an online campaign against him, he was killed by Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old of Chechen origin.
The Guardian’s Europe correspondent, Jon Henley, tells Rachel Humphreys that the response to the killing by President Emmanuel Macron was swift and incendiary. His defence of laïcité, French secularism, is now a defining principle of the republic. However, Macron’s response has led to furious protests across the Muslim world.
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