A year ago, History professor Samuel Patti beheaded by a young Chechen Islamist for showing sketches of Muhammad in his classroom, with the France today pays tribute to the teacher, who became a symbol of freedom of expression.
On October 16, 2020, Samuel Patti, 47, he was stabbed and then beheaded on a street near the Boulevard d’Allen college where he taught, in Conflan-Saint-Honorine, a quiet town on the outskirts of Paris, on his way home.
His killer, an 18-year-old radicalized Chechen refugee, who was subsequently killed by police, blamed him for showing Muhammad sketches in class and paid students to show him who he was.
Charges were brought against a total of 15 people in this case.
Many ceremonies will be held today as a tribute to what President Emanuel Macron had described as a “calm hero” of the French Republic.
The teacher’s family will be received by Macron at the Elysian presidential palace, and then a square in Paris will be renamed after him. A monument in the form of a book will be unveiled in Conflan.
A plaque in his memory will be placed at the entrance of the Ministry of National Education.
The attack had shaken a country already hit by jihadist attacks since the beginning of the decade, and sparked heated debates over freedom of expression, religion, the state’s popular character and the right to blaspheme.
“Samuel Patti was ‘looking for a way to make others think,'” one of his sisters, Gael, told La Croix. To show the sketches of the Prophet Muhammad, the same ones that had sparked the bloody attack on Charlie Hebdo’s editorial in 2015, was for the educator “the starting point for a discussion,” he added.
However, they signed his death sentence after a parent student, backed by a militant Islamist, launched a fierce campaign against Samuel Patti on social media.
His colleagues are shocked
For a year now, the teachers at Beauvais d’Aln College, shocked, have remained silent, refusing to speak to the media asking them to do so.
However, as the anniversary approached, seven of the college’s fifty teachers told the Liberation newspaper and France Inter radio station who “their Samuel Patti” was, always next to his students and always ready to talk to his colleagues: “a man like the others “and not” the myth “that the attack made him unintentionally, said one of them.
Yesterday, Friday, students of the college where he taught were invited to read their poems about the teacher.
“These poems were nice, but they make me think it would be nice to still be with him. “I would like to know more about him,” 14-year-old Guillaume, who had Samuel Patti as his main teacher last year, told the French Agency yesterday.
The college community was also hit by the indictment of five students, who ranged in age from 13 to 15 at the time of the attack and are suspected of pointing the teacher at his killer.
The attack “left us shocked in many ways” and “its impact remains significant,” said Jean-Jacques Brou, prefect of the Evelyn district where the college is located.
In terms of security, he adds, “it was a kind of wake-up call for all the services, whether it was the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of National Education, the intelligence, analysis or forecasting services.”