French police raid Islamic associations following terrorist attack

French police raid Islamic associations following terrorist attack

French police have conducted multiple raids on Islamic associations following the beheading of a school teacher by an Islamic extremist in what the French government considers to be a terrorist attack.

French police sources told Reuters that that authorities conducted raids on foreigners suspected of sharing the assailant’s extremist religious beliefs.

47-year-old Samuel Paty was murdered on Friday in front of his school by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin. When the attacker, who yelled “Allahu akbar” during the attack, charged at police, police shot and killed him. 

According to Reuters, the murderer sought revenge against the teacher for presenting illustrations of Prophet Mohammed in a class on freedom of speech to teenagers.

Reuters reports that police detained 10 people in connection with the attack in the 24 hours that followed the murder, among whom was the father of one of Paty’s students, and another who was already on a government watchlist who used social media to conduct an online harassment campaign against the teacher.

The man identified on the watchlists was named as Abdelhakim Sefriuoi, who immigrated from Morocco. A judicial source told the paper that the man used social media platforms to attack people over claims of “Islamophobia.”

The French public has come out in protest of the killing, calling it an attack on French values.

Reuters reports that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 80 investigations are currently underway into online hate relating to the attack and his ministry is considering disbanding 50 associations within the Muslim community.

A police source informed Reuters that France was preparing to deport over 200 foreign individuals who were on a government watchlist and suspected of holding extremist religious beliefs, of which approx. 150 are already serving time in prison. The deportations were already underway before the fatal attack on the school teacher.