Has anyone survived a decapitation?

A brutal decapitation on the street shocks France

A teacher shows caricatures of Mohammed in class. The father of a schoolgirl is indignant about this on the Internet. Around ten days later, the teacher was beheaded in the street. According to previous knowledge, the perpetrator, an 18-year-old Chechen, did not know the teacher.

A 47-year-old teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine paid for a lesson on freedom of expression with his life: he was attacked by a man with a butcher's knife on the way from the schoolhouse to his apartment early on Friday evening and was downright executed in the street. The police, who were called to the scene a short time later, found him beheaded.

According to the Paris anti-terrorist prosecutor who took over the investigation, the perpetrator is an 18-year-old of Chechen origin. He lived as a recognized refugee in Evreux, a town around 90 kilometers from the crime scene. He had neither a criminal record nor was he known for tendencies towards radicalization, but he had already attracted attention through damage to property and aggressive behavior. On Friday afternoon, he is said to have been in front of the school where his victim was teaching. Accordingly, he should have asked students about the teacher. Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is located around 30 kilometers northwest of Paris and is considered a quiet middle-class residential area.

What happened between the perpetrator and his victim and what relationship they were is currently unclear. However, the prosecutor confirmed several witness reports on Saturday, according to which a polemic developed around a teaching unit of the victim around 10 days ago. The history and geography teacher had shown caricatures of Mohammed in an hour on the subject of freedom of expression. After that, the father of a schoolgirl posted a post on Facebook complaining that the teacher had shown pictures of the naked prophet. He called for pressure to be put on the school to work towards the “crook” being released. He also filed charges of pornography. He also claimed that the teacher asked Muslim students to leave the classroom. The school management then met the angry father for a conversation.

The teacher, who was questioned by police last Monday, denied having expelled the Muslim students from the room. He said he merely warned that the pictures could be hurtful. The angry father published a second video last week accusing Emmanuel Macron, among others, of inciting hatred of Muslims.

Muslim students forewarned

The father who sparked the polemic has been in custody since Saturday. There are traces of radical Islam in his environment. His half-sister traveled to Syria in 2014 to join the terrorist militia “Islamic State”. One of his acquaintances, who also appears in one of the videos and who accompanied the father to a conversation with the school management, is known to the security authorities because of Islamist activities. However, it is unclear whether there is a connection to the perpetrator.

He had put pictures of his act on the Internet. In the tweet, which has since been deleted, he wrote, according to the prosecutor: “From Abdullah, the servant of Allah, to Macron, the leader of the infidels: I killed one of your hellhounds who dared to disparage Mohammed. Calm these fellow creatures down before we inflict a heavy penalty on you. " Five people from the perpetrator's family are currently in custody; By Sunday, the police had temporarily arrested a total of eleven people.

Mohammed cartoons Motive for attack on Charlie Hebdo

The brutality with which the perpetrator proceeded caused great horror in France. President Macron went to Conflans with several ministers late on Friday evening. Macron found clear words there and spoke of a clearly Islamist-motivated act of terrorism. "Our fellow citizen was attacked cowardly for teaching, for teaching his students what freedom of expression is and the freedom to believe or not to believe." Citizens and teachers' unions in several cities have called for commemorative rallies and solidarity demonstrations for Sunday. The national association of mayors has also invited its members to hoist their flags at half-mast. A national memorial service for the victim will be held in Paris on Wednesday.

Already on Saturday there were spontaneous expressions of solidarity for the killed teacher in numerous cities. People gathered under the motto “Je suis Prof” (I am a teacher). This is based on “Je suis Charlie”, the leitmotif that shaped the demonstrations after the attack on the editorial staff of the magazine “Charlie Hebdo”.

Similarities to a case a few weeks ago

According to what we know so far, the act of Conflans is similar to that of a young man of Pakistani origin who seriously injured two people with a butcher's ax in front of the former editorial building of the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris at the end of September. He was also unknown to the authorities and was living in France as a recognized refugee. His motive was to avenge the recent publication of the Mohammed cartoons by Charlie Hebdo. The magazine moved its headquarters to a secret location after the attack in January 2015; the attack hit two completely uninvolved. So far there are no indications of accomplices.

The recent, apparently Islamist-motivated attack is grist to the mill of those who accuse the head of state of neglecting the subject of Islamism for too long. Conservative politicians called on Emmanuel Macron to send a strong political signal. Just two weeks ago the president presented his long-awaited strategy to fight Islamic separatism. Education and schools - in the public context - play a central role. A general ban on homeschooling starting next summer is intended to prevent children from disappearing in obscure Koran schools. However, the strategy has yet to be put into law and should not take effect until next summer.