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October Today in Terrorism

October 16, 2020: Terrorist stabs teacher in France

On October 16, 2020 French teacher Samuel Paty was knifed to death near Paris suburb for having showed his teenage students a cartoon lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

CONFLANS SAINTE-HONORINE, FRANCE – We can agree to disagree on many things, but we cannot take our disagreement to the level of killing.

I am going to assume that all of my followers spent time in school. After all, it is both a human right as well as a pretty important part of becoming a functioning member of society.

Times certainly have changed over the centuries when it comes to what is acceptable and not in education. For far too long pupils and students were forced to listen to and accept what the teacher/professor said without argument. Not really a great way to learn, is it?

Nowadays in some locales it is ok to question what we are being taught. Good teachers allow and even welcome debate and differences of opinion (politely expressed of course!). Now THAT is how we become better! For the record I was a bit of a shit disturber in school (especially during my years at Western University when I fought professors who dismissed Canadian French as a viable use of the Gallic tongue).

I don’t know jack about being a teacher! (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Controversial topics must be handled carefully of course. Some issues can really upset people, leading to vociferous and emotion-laden exchanges. But, at the end of the day, we have to allow these differing views to be expressed. We cannot use violence to get our way.

Or can we?

On this day in 2020

A French middle school teacher was knifed to death on the street of a Paris suburb for having showed his teenage students a cartoon lampooning the Prophet Muhammad as part of a class on freedom of expression earlier that month. The killer was Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old who had been given a residency card in March 2020 and lived as a refugee in Normandy. He was not a student at the school where Samuel Paty taught but reacted to a FaceBook post in which a parent complained the teacher had shown a picture of a ‘naked’ Muhammad.

One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught pupils freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not believe. This was a cowardly attack on our compatriot. He was the victim of a typical Islamist terrorist attack.

French President Macron

The terrorist was shot dead by French police. His act did nothing to defeat freedom of expression. As usual, these tactics failed to force us to bow down to their demands.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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