Police in France have arrested an 11th suspected terrorist following a brutal attack in a Paris suburb that left a teacher decapitated. The assailant, an 18-year-old immigrant from Chechnya, was shot and killed by police, but the gruesome nature of the attack has rattled French citizens, who are inured to violence tied to Islamic terror.
French police arrested 4 close relatives of the attacker shortly after the attack unfolded on Friday afternoon. Five other individuals were detained later, including the father of a pupil at Paty’s school and an acquaintance of the pupil’s father known to the intelligence services, according to anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said on Saturday. It's unclear if the acquaintance is suspected of somehow playing a role in the attack. A 10th person was placed in custody later on Saturday, then the 11th suspect was arrested early Sunday. No information about the latest arrest has been released, Reuters reports.
Teachers and millions of others are furious, directing some of their ire at social media companies, and part at the government, which did nothing to protect the victim, a teacher named Samuel Paty, who was identified in a social media post as a teacher who had shown students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad produced by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This "doxxing" is suspected to have played a role in his murder, as Muslims parents banded together to complain to the school.
The "doxxing" was reportedly perpetrated by the father of one of Coty's students, who was urging other Muslim parents to complain to the school about the teacher's decision to show the Charlie Hebdo "naked man" cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Initially, a complaint was lodged by the father of a 13-year-old girl who studied at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where Paty taught history and geography. The father later said in a Facebook video that the teacher had shown the class a caricature of a “naked man,” stating it was the “Muslim prophet," as part of a lesson on freedom of expression.
According to media reports, Coty asked any Muslim students to leave the class before the lesson, claiming he didn't want to offend them, or anybody. Despite this, some students stayed, then complained about the lesson to their parents later, saying that they had taken offense at the depiction of the prophet.
The French government has portrayed the killing as an attack on the heart of French values, though the attack has also roused the usual criticisms about the French security forces not doing enough to prevent these types of terror attacks, which are much more common in western Europe than in the US.
President Emmanuel Macron referred to Paty’s murder an "Islamist terrorist attack," adding that the young attacker had tried to "undermine the values" of the French people.
To this, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and politicians including liberals and conservatices attended Sunday’s commemoration in central Paris. A national tribute will be organized for Wednesday, according to the office of French President Emmanuel Macron. Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government was working on a better strategy to protect teachers from threats.
Macron is also reportedly expected to hold a meeting with several key ministers on Sunday.
"I want teachers to know that, after this ignoble act, the whole country is behind them," Castex told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview. "This tragedy affects each and every one of us because, through this teacher, it is the Republic that was attacked."
The backlash to the attack is already centering on the government's efforts to disrupt the funding networks that finance terror. Speaking on France 3 TV channel, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that he will prepare "proposals to strengthen the control over financial flows" to terror groups.
“There is a problem of financing a number of Islamist associations on which I think we can and must do better,” he said.
And perhaps social media companies, instead of fixating on helping Joe Biden win the upcoming election, can marshal their censorship resources to crack down on "doxxing" like what happened here. After all, Twitter banned ZeroHedge for allegedly "doxxing" a Chinese scientist, according to one explanation provided via the company and/or via the press. Why weren't the same standards enforced here?