France marks one year since Samuel Paty murder

France marks one year since murder of teacher Samuel Paty by IS sympathiser
2 min read
15 October, 2021
The commemoration of the teacher's brutal execution by a young Islamic State sympathiser takes place as right-wing grows in France ahead of the 2022 presidential elections.
A minute's silence was held across France in tribute to late history teacher Samuel Paty [Getty]

Nationwide commemorations were launched in France on Friday, a day before the first anniversary of the murder of schoolteacher Samuel Paty.

Commemorative events and a minute of silence were carried out in at all primary and secondary schools across the country, and imams and dignitaries of the Great Mosque of Paris prayed on Friday morning in front of the school where Paty used to teach in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the suburbs of Paris.

Paty was stabbed to death and beheaded on 16 October 2020, near the school where he worked as a history teacher. His murderer, a young Chechen refugee and Islamic State group sympathiser, targeted Paty following false accusations posted on social media, which claimed the teacher had forcibly shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to his students.

Further ceremonies are due to take place tomorrow on the anniversary of the murder. President Emmanuel Macron will host the Paty family at his presidential palace, while the city of Paris announced it will inaugurate a public square in his name.

One year on, fifteen people are under investigation for involvement in the killing. Among them are seven children, five of whom were students at the school.

Perspectives

The attack sparked nationwide controversy on the inability of the state to stop radicalisation and acts of terrorism.

Paty’s death was followed by a rise in anti-refugee and anti-Islam rhetoric, both of which have continued to grow as the country approaches its next presidential election.

In December 2020, the government dissolved the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, a civil society organization that recorded and fought against acts of Islamophobia, for what it called “Islamist propaganda.”

In July, France adopted an "anti-separatist" bill that activists widely denounced as targeting the country's Muslim minority.