Police to close Paris mosque in clampdown on extremism after teacher beheading

The Guardian:

French authorities have said they will close a well-known mosque in a northern Paris suburb as part of their clampdown on Islamist groups and suspected extremists after a history teacher was beheaded last week outside his school.

As a police investigation continued into networks suspected of promoting extreme religious beliefs, spreading hate and encouraging violence, the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said the mosque in Pantin would be closed on Wednesday for six months.

A source close to the investigation said the mosque, which has about 1,500 worshippers, had posted a Facebook video about Samuel Paty days before the 47-year-old history and geography teacher was decapitated last Friday.

The video violently criticised Paty’s decision to show his class – after giving Muslim pupils the chance to leave if they felt uncomfortable – two caricatures of the prophet Muhammad alongside other cartoons as part of a class discussion on free speech.

The education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said on Tuesday that Paty would be posthumously awarded France’s highest award, the Légion d’Honneur. A national ceremony will be held in his honour at the Sorbonne University in Paris on Wednesday.

The teacher was stabbed and beheaded outside his secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, about 20 miles north-west of Paris, by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin named as Abdullakh Anzorov who was shot dead by police soon afterwards.

Paris prosecutors said on Tuesday they had opened an investigation into a French neo-Nazi website hosted abroad that had republished the photo of Paty’s decapitated corpse posted to Twitter by the killer.

A junior interior minister, Marlène Schiappa, met on Tuesday with senior executives from social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to discuss ways of better combating what the ministry called “cyber-Islamicism”.

Read more at The Guardian

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