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Campaign That Led to Teacher's Beheading Was Based on a Lie

Suspended student claimed she was kicked out of Samuel Paty's class, prompting attack from father
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2021 9:01 AM CST

(Newser) – An online campaign targeting a French teacher who was beheaded days later started with a lie. That's according to Le Parisien, which reports a 13-year-old student has admitted to a judge that she lied when she claimed to be a witness to Samuel Paty's Oct. 6 lesson on Charlie Hebdo's caricatures, during which he showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The girl claimed Paty asked Muslim students to leave the room, and she was suspended for refusing, per the BBC and Guardian. The girl's father responded by identifying and attacking Paty, whom he accused of Islamophobia, in videos posted on social media. Police sources claimed the father then communicated with 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, who followed Paty from the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and beheaded him on Oct. 16, before being shot dead by police. But it turns out the girl wasn't actually present for the lesson.

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She'd been suspended from school the day before for "bad behavior," Le Parisien reports, per the BBC, adding "she would not have dared to confess to her father." Paty, who'd conducted similar lessons on free speech in previous years, had only asked students to close their eyes or briefly leave the classroom if they thought they would be offended by the images, per the Guardian. The girl's lawyer said she lied "because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson" but "it was the father's excessive behavior ... that led to this spiral," per the BBC. The father, 48-year-old Brahim Chnina, told police he'd been "idiotic" but "I never thought my messages would be seen by terrorists," per the Guardian. Police have not elaborated on the alleged communications with Anzorov. Both father and daughter are charged, per AFP, as are other students who allegedly pointed out Paty to his killer. (Read more France stories.)

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