Attack on History Teacher near Paris

I was deeply saddened to hear of yesterday’s horrific attack on Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris, who was brutally killed and beheaded by an 18-year-old militant after leaving the collège (middle school) where he taught.

Photo: Le Monde

Samuel Paty was reportedly targeted because of his use of Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a recent class concerning the freedom of expression.

The republishing of the cartoons recently by Charlie Hebdo at the beginning of an highly publicized trial of individuals accused of assisting the militants who committed the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office in January 2015, was deliberately provocative and has raised once again issues of freedom of expression, laïcité (secularism), justice, anti-Islamic sentiment, and racism in contemporary France.

This latest attack specifically targeted a history teacher and raises many additional questions about the status of historians, teachers, and educators in France. This act of violence also represents a direct attack on public education and academic freedom.

I would like to express my condolences to the family, colleagues, and students of Samuel Paty. I deplore the brutal violence that has been directed against him in an attempt to threaten historians and teachers across France.

Le Monde and France 24 report on the attack. L’Express provides additional reporting. France 3 reports on Samuel Paty. The Guardian reports on the violence in English.

This entry was posted in Academic Freedom, European History, European Union, French History, History of Race and Racism, History of Violence, Humanities Education, Idea of Europe, Paris History, Political Culture, Religious History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence. Bookmark the permalink.

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