In a likely terrorist attack, a teacher in France who showed students caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad — for a discussion about free speech — was beheaded on the street by a knife-wielding attacker.
The Guardian has more:
Authorities announced immediately after the killing that it was being investigated by an anti-terrorist judge, suggesting there was little doubt it was an act of terror. The education minister tweeted: “Our unity and our firmness are the only responses faced with the monstrosity of Islamic terrorism.”
The teacher was a professor who taught history-geography — the subjects are taught together in France — but also gave the obligatory courses in “moral and civil education”. It was as part of these, and while talking about freedom of speech, that the professor showed pupils the cartoons. This sparked complaints from parents and the 18-year-old Moscow-born suspect is said to have shared photos of the incident on social media.
The police found him shortly after the attacked and shot the assailant dead after he threatened officers.
All of this is occurring as a trial is ongoing for people accused of providing weapons to the terrorists who killed staffers at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015 after they published their own cartoons depicting Muhammad. (Such depictions violate Islamic law.) Another attack occurred outside the magazine’s offices last month.
Information is still coming in, but for now, remember that defending free speech means defending speech you may not like. Blasphemy is always in the eye of the beholder, but responding to mockery — or even a discussion involving religious criticism — with violence reveals only the moral bankruptcy of the attackers.
If you can’t handle people mocking your beliefs, get better beliefs.
(Portions of this article were published earlier. Thanks to everyone for the link)