A mosque in Paris expressed regret for sharing a video that called for action against Samuel Paty, the history teacher beheaded last week for sharing cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. In the video, the father of one of Paty's student condemned the teacher and demanded the school take action against him for showing the caricatures of the prophet, which is prohibited in Islam.
Paty became the target of an online hate campaign after the parent wrote multiple Facebook posts drawing fellow Muslims' attention. The man, whose identity was not released, also posted a series of videos criticizing the teacher and the school. In one of the videos, he revealed the teacher's name and contact number.
A week before the Oct. 16 attack, the Grand Mosque of Pantin shared the parent's video, in which Paty was called a "thug" on its Facebook page. While the mosque did not identify the teacher, it encouraged fellow Muslims to contact the parent. The video was reportedly circulated widely among the community and was believed to have incited the violence against the 47-year-old teacher.
The Grand Mosque of Pantin pulled the down video after the attack and condemned Paty's beheading. Mohammed Henniche, the mosque's rector, said he "regrets" the decision to share the video. However, he maintained that it was not done with malicious intent and the video did not identify the teacher.
"There is no call to hate, and no call against this teacher," Henniche reportedly said.
Mosque Ordered To Close Down
The French government said on Tuesday it would close down the Grand Mosque of Pantin — that has about 1,500 worshippers — for sharing the video that incited hate and violence against Paty. The interior ministry said it ordered the mosque to remain closed for six months starting Wednesday night.
On Monday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he directed the regional authorities to shut down the mosque and said there would be "not a minute's respite for enemies of the Republic." Darmanin accused the parent of issuing a "fatwa" against Paty for sharing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.
"We must fight political Islam with the same determination as we fight terrorism," he told Europe 1 radio.
The police arrested the parent along with 15 others as a part of the crackdown against radical Islamists. Following the attack, French police gunned down the perpetrator — 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov. Authorities found a photo of Paty and a message admitting to the teacher's killing on Anzorov's mobile phone. Four members of the attacker's family and a known Islamist radical were among those arrested.