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French police investigating 80 Islamist extremist suspects after teacher beheading

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)
October 22, 2020

French police carried out raids against dozens of Islamist extremist groups as part of investigations following a Friday attack in Paris, in which a French history professor was beheaded.

The Guardian reported French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin said on Monday that the raids targeted Islamist groups and individuals with extremist beliefs, including those who expressed support for the Friday beheading attack, carried out by Muslim migrant Abdoullakh Anzorov, against French history professor Samual Paty. Darmanin said about 80 investigations were launched looking into radical preachers and suspected extremists accused of spreading online hate.

Darmanin said 50 associations in the Muslim community were also being reviewed by authorities and “some of which will certainly be dissolved.”

Darmanin said a “Fatwa” or judgment, appeared to have been issued against Samual Paty, the victim of Friday’s attack. Paty had reportedly shown his students a series of cartoons and caricatures including two of the prophet Muhammad. Some Islamic beliefs hold that depictions of the prophet Muhammad are forbidden.

The Guardian reported a photo of Paty’s decapitated head was shared to Twitter on Anzorov’s account, with the message, “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Muhammad down.”

Anzarov, 18, was shot and killed by police responding to the attack.

Darmanin said the Anti-Islamophobia Collective, was one organization “clearly implicated” in the attack against Paty. Anzorov’s father reportedly referenced the Anti-Islamophobia Collective in a video calling for Paty’s dismissal and Anzorov’s father and Abdelhakim Sefrioui, a well-known Islamist radical with reported links to the organization were among 11 people arrested in connection with the Friday attack.

In a Sunday cabinet meeting, French President Emmanual Macron announced new anti-Islamist measures, such as measures to target“the structures, associations and people close to radical groups … who spread hate and can encourage attacks.”

Macron said, “Fear is about to change sides. Islamists must not be allowed sleep soundly in our country.”

French justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti reportedly called on top French prosecutors to meet Monday to discuss “additional measures necessitated by the situation.”

FranceTVInfo reported one Paris mosque has apologized for sharing the video calling for Paty’s dismissal. The video reportedly identified Paty and his address. M’hammed Henniche, the leader of a mosque in the Paris suburb of Pantin said in hindsight of the beheading attack, “Given what happened we regret having published it. We are now exploring how in the future we can take a step back before getting carried away with things like that.”

Henniche told the French newspaper Libération, “Really no one, could imagine, on October 9 when I posted it, that it would end with this assassination.”