Paris: French police arrested nine Muslim sympathizers suspected of beheading a school teacher on a street in a suburb of Paris on Friday, police sources said.
The investigators tried to determine if the perpetrator, who was shot and killed by the police, acted alone or if there was an accomplice. French media reported that he was 18 years old from Chechen.
Witnesses heard the perpetrator shout “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Greatest,” police sources said. His victim, a history teacher, showed students a cartoon of the prophet Mohammad earlier this month in a civic class on freedom of expression.
President Emmanuel Mark Long called the incident Islamic terrorism.
Police sources revealed that four of the attacker’s relatives, including a minor, were detained for hours immediately after the attack in the middle-class suburb Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
Five were detained overnight, among them two parents of students at the University of Buadaulne, where teachers were employed.
Muslim leaders condemned the murder, which many celebrities perceived as an attack on the nature of the French state and the values of secularism, freedom of worship and freedom of expression.
Tareq Oubrou, the imam of the Bordeaux Mosque, denied that murder meant a civilization clash.
“It is not civilization, but barbarism that kills innocent people,” Oubrou told Inter France. He added that the podium over deadly attacks by Islamic militants and sympathizers is destroying the Muslim community in France.
“We are grateful every day that goes by without accident,” he said. “We are between the hammer and the anvil. It attacks the nature of republic, society, peace and religion on symbiosis.”