“Boycott France”

By Maya Mellberg

November 2, 2020

As police continued to investigate, they discovered there were thousands of people attending rallies across France to honor Samuel Paty, a teacher who was beheaded after showing his students cartoons of Mohammed.

    Prior to Mr. Paty’s assassination he had received multiple threats after showing these cartoons to his class, he wanted to bring attention to the cause of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Charlie Hebdo was a French satirical newspaper that made numerous jokes regarding Muslims and Islam. There was a terrorist shooting were two gunmen entered the office during a meeting and shot journalists, these men killed a total of ten people that day. Mr. Paty showed his class these cartoons to bring light to the tragic murders on the 5th anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo murders. On Friday the 16 of October 2020, Paty was attacked and stabbed with a knife before he was beheaded. Witnesses claim that they hear the attacker scream “Allahu Akbar’’ which translates to “God is greatest”. Police fired at the unknown attacker, killing him, the murder weapon of Samuel Paty, a 12-inch blade, was found nearby. The Killer was identified as Abdoulakh A., an 18-year old from Moscow with no known connection to Samuel Paty. Abdoulakh was found to have a small criminal record with only minor misdemeanor charges. 

    He previously taught lessons regarding freedom of speech, including these cartoons of Muhammad. He had told his pupils that if they were Muslim, he advised them to look away as they might be offended. This caused issues with the school and parents came to complain and were angry with Paty’s choice to show these cartoons. One parent accompanied by Abdelhakim Sefrioui, a preacher and activist, created videos calling Paty a “thug” and demanded he be suspended from teaching. Upon this discovery, police noted Sefrioui had been known to French Intelligence for years before; he is now in custody with the parent he accompanied.

   The horrific murder resulted in people throughout France rallying to protest the death of Samuel Paty and demonstrate they have “zero tolerance to all enemies of the Republic”. Many spoke out against the murder, including Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer who said France would defeat their enemies of the democracy and that French teachers needed support. On the 21st of October, there would be a national tribute paid to Mr. Paty. An Imam of a mosque in Bordeaux, Tareq Oubrou, said “A civilization does not kill an innocent person, barbarism does.” 

    As a result of the support for Samuel Paty, France is receiving extreme backlash from countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. French products in stores have been taken off the shelves as a boycott of French goods has taken place. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron spoke out in support of freedom of speech and the right of Mr. Paty to display the cartoons to his class. Macron received backlash from Turkey and Pakistan where he was accused of not respecting “freedom of belief” for the millions of Muslims in France. The President of Turkey attacked Macron again, suggesting he seeks a “mental check” for his opinion and views on Islam. As tension rises the boycott becomes more and more extreme, government officials in many Islamic countries are urging citizens to continue this boycott of French goods. A massive rally including 40,000 people took place in Bangladesh, participants marched through the capital of Dhaka towards the French embassy. This rally demanded the boycott of all french goods because of France’s stance on radical Islam. During this rally, a statue of Macron was burned and he has now become a target in many Muslim countries. This conflict continues to develop and the tensions between the Muslim countries and France drastically increases.

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