PARIS, Oct 20 — The young man who beheaded a French teacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in class had sent an SMS message to one of the schoolchildren’s parents who had complained about the images, a police source said today.
The source told Reuters that it was not clear whether the parent - the father of a girl in the teacher’s class - had responded to the SMS message.
History teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded on Friday outside his school in the Paris suburb of Conflans by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin.
Prosecutors said the attacker, shot dead by police soon after the attack, wanted to punish the teacher for showing his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics class on freedom of expression earlier this month.
BFM TV reported today that the father who had denounced the teacher in a video on social media had exchanged Whatsapp messages with the killer in the days preceding the attack.
The beheaded teacher had been the target of an angry social media campaign in the days before the murder.
The father, who has been detained by police, had posted a video on Facebook saying he wanted the teacher removed, prosecutors said at the weekend. The man also went to see the school principal to complain and put out another Facebook video, giving the name of the teacher and identifying the school.
The murder shocked France, carrying echoes of the 2015 attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Public figures called the killing an assault on the Republic and on French values, and Paty is to posthumously receive France’s highest award, the “Legion d’Honneur”. — Reuters