Francia realiza operación policial contra movimientos islamistas

Las autoridades actuaron tras la decapitación de un profesor que mostró una caricatura de Mahoma.

Las autoridades francesas lanzaron este lunes una vasta operación policial contra movimientos islamistas tras la decapitación este viernes de un profesor, víctima de una fetua (decisión legal), según el ministro del Interior, por haber mostrado a sus alumnos caricaturas de Mahoma.

El objetivo de la operación son “docenas de individuos” que no “necesariamente tienen un vínculo con la investigación” pero a los que el gobierno “obviamente quiere enviar un mensaje”.

No hay que darles “ni un minuto de respiro a los enemigos de la República”, dijo el ministro, Gérald Darmanin, en la radio Europa 1. Según una fuente cercana al caso, se trata de personas fichadas por los servicios de inteligencia por sus prédicas radicales y sus mensajes de odio en las redes sociales.

Desde el asesinato de Samuel Paty, que enseñaba historia y geografía en una escuela de secundaria en Conflans Sainte-Honorine, al oeste de París, se abrieron “más de 80 investigaciones” contra “todos aquellos que de una manera apologética dijeron de una forma u otra que este profesor se lo había buscado”, dijo Darmanin, afirmando que se hicieron varios arrestos.

¿Cómo reaccionó el país?
Decenas de miles de personas se manifestaron en el país este domingo en defensa de la libertad de expresión y para decir no al “oscurantismo”, mientras que el presidente Emmanuel Macron convocó un consejo de defensa por la noche, durante el cual dijo que “el miedo cambiará de bando”. “Los islamistas no deben poder dormir tranquilos en nuestro país”, indicó el palacio presidencial del Elíseo.

Al término de una reunión de dos horas y media con el primer ministro, Jean Castex, cinco ministros y el fiscal antiterrorista Jean-François Richard, Macron anunció un “plan de acción” contra “las estructuras, asociaciones o personas cercanas a los círculos radicalizados” que propagan llamamientos al odio.

Según el ministro del Interior, Gérald Darmanin, 51 asociaciones “recibirán varias visitas de los servicios del Estado a lo largo de la semana y varias de ellas (…) serán disueltas por el Consejo de Ministros”. El ministro quiere, en particular, disolver el Colectivo contra la Islamofobia en Francia (CCIF) .

Por su parte, el ministro de Justicia, Eric Dupond-Moretti, convocó urgentemente a los fiscales este lunes por la mañana para, según su entorno, garantizar “una perfecta colaboración con los prefectos y las fuerzas de seguridad interior en la aplicación y el seguimiento de las medidas requeridas por la situación”.

El ministro del Interior también acusó al padre de una colegiala de Conflans Saint-Honorine y al militante islamista radical Abdelhakim Sefrioui de haber “lanzado claramente una fetua” contra Paty por haber mostrado caricaturas de Mahoma en clase. AFP

Police to close Paris mosque in clampdown on extremism

Mosque allegedly posted Facebook video violently criticising teacher days before he was beheaded

French authorities have said they will close a well known mosque in a northern Paris suburb as part of their clampdown on Islamist groups and suspected extremists after a history teacher was beheaded last week outside his school.

As a police investigation continued into networks suspected of promoting extreme religious beliefs, spreading hate and encouraging violence, interior minister Gérald Darmanin, said the mosque in Pantin would be closed on Wednesday for six months.

A source close to the investigation said the mosque, which has about 1,500 worshippers, had posted a Facebook video about Samuel Paty days before the 47-year-old history and geography teacher was decapitated last Friday.

The video violently criticised Paty’s decision to show his class – after giving Muslim pupils the chance to leave if they felt uncomfortable – two caricatures of the prophet Muhammad alongside other cartoons as part of a class discussion on free speech.

The education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said on Tuesday that Paty would be posthumously awarded France’s highest award, the Légion d’Honneur. A national ceremony will be held in his honour at the Sorbonne University in Paris on Wednesday.

The teacher was stabbed and beheaded outside his secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, about 20 miles north-west of Paris, by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin named as Abdullakh Anzorov who was shot dead by police soon afterwards.

Paris prosecutors said on Tuesday they had opened an investigation into a French neo-Nazi website hosted abroad that had republished the photo of Paty’s decapitated corpse posted to Twitter by the killer.

A junior interior minister, Marlène Schiappa, met on Tuesday with senior executives from social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to discuss ways of better combating what the ministry called “cyber-Islamicism”.

Paty’s murder was preceded by a fierce online campaign against the teacher and the school, led by the father of a pupil who had not attended the lesson. He posted a number of videos calling for Paty’s dismissal, one of which the mosque shared.

Both the father and Abdelhakim Sefrioui, a well-known Islamist radical who also posted videos online and campaigned for Paty’s removal, were among 16 people arrested in connection with the killing, including four members of Anzorov’s family.

Four pupils from the school who were suspected of having accepted payment for pointing Paty out to the attacker were also among those in custody on Tuesday.

The education ministry categorically denied rumours circulating, particularly on far-right websites, that the local education authority had been preparing to reprimand Paty for having shown the caricatures. The ministry said the teacher had behaved entirely appropriately and had been assured of the authority’s full support.

Darmanin on Monday accused Sefriou and the father of issuing a “fatwa” against Paty. The head of the Pantin mosque, M’hammed Henniche, said on Tuesday he had shared the video because he felt Muslim children were being being singled out in class.

Authorities are targeting suspect groups within the Muslim community and have said they expected to dissolve several of them. Darmanin and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, were due to attend a special meeting of the national anti-Islamist committee on Tuesday.

Macron is under pressure to come up with an effective response to the latest in a series of Islamist terror attacks that have rocked France since the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, in which 12 people were killed in the offices of the satirical weekly after it published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

More than 240 people have died from Islamist violence since 2015, prompting opposition politicians – particularly on the right – to accuse the government of waging a battle of words rather than taking decisive action. BY Jon Henley in Paris / Theguardian.com