Samuel Paty wanted to teach his students a lesson about free speech. He ended up paying with his life. Paty, 47, a middle-school teacher in a Paris suburb, announced to his civics class in early October that he would show some of the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad that the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published in 2015 and that students were free to opt out of viewing the images.
The teacher was immediately denounced on social media. In a viral video, the Muslim father of one of Paty’s students related a series of fabrications. He falsely claimed that his daughter attended the class on free speech, that the teacher banned all Muslim students from the room and later showed the class a “photograph of a naked man” as if it were a portrait of “the Prophet of Islam,” and that his daughter had been excluded from the school in retaliation for her objections.
On social media the father posted Paty’s name and the school’s address and encouraged all Muslims who shared his concerns to assist him in having the “rogue” instructor fired. The father and his entourage repeatedly described the affair as an act of racism and Islamophobia.
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