Macron works to save liberals’ reputation around the world after targeting Islam

PARIS – On October 16, Samuel Paty, professor of French history, was walking home after a day at school in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine when he was assaulted by an 18-year-old, who beheaded him in broad daylight and posted a photo of his body online.

The attacker, Abdullakh Anzarov, a Chechen who had lived in France for more than 10 years, had traveled to the city in search of Paty after hearing about him online. The teacher had shown his 13-year-old students a cartoon mocking the Prophet Muhammad, angering some Muslim parents who denounced him in an online video.

The theme of the class was freedom of speech.

His assassination, alongside two more attacks on militant Islamists in just over a month, has reignited a fierce debate over the country’s secularism laws and sparked a brutal response from President Emmanuel Macron, sparking criticism in the country and abroad.

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