Schoolgirl admits lying about murdered French teacher Samuel Paty

Wednesday, March 10
FRANCE


By Ciarán Mather

A French schoolgirl has admitted that she lied about her claim that her teacher, Samuel Paty, showed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in a classroom lesson.

Paty was later murdered in retaliation for allegedly showing the image in October of last year by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzoro.

Anzoro was later killed by French police shortly after the attack.

As reported by the French newspaper Le Parisien, the 13-year-old girl, who has only been identified as 'Z', originally told her father that the late Mr. Paty had asked Muslim students to leave the classroom while he showed the image.

Mr. Paty had reportedly shown the image as part of a class discussing free speech and blasphemy.

She has since said: 'I didn't see the cartoons; it was a girl in my class who showed me them.'

In fact, it has since been revealed that the schoolgirl was absent that day as a result of a suspension.

Speaking about her client, Mbeko Tabula, told AFP news agency that the girl lied as 'she felt trapped in a spiral, because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson.'

The teenage girl also says that she made up the story in a bid to avoid disappointing her father.

Speaking on French radio on Tuesday, the Paty family's lawyer, Virginie Le Roy said the girl's family knew that she had not been in class on the day in question and why she had been suspended. 

Le Roy said about Z's father to RTL radio: 'To come and say now, sorry, I believed my daughter's lies, that's really weak.'

The girl's father filed a legal complaint against the teacher and began a social media campaign over the incident based on his daughter's account.

He even publicly identified Paty and the school in which the alleged incident occurred at.

Prosecutors against the schoolgirl have since claimed that there was a 'direct causal link' between the online incitement against Paty and his murder at the hands of Mr. Anzoro.



In related news, two university professors have been given police protection after they were accused of Islamophobia by student protesters.

According to BBC News, an investigation has begun after posters were put up last week at Sciences Po university in Grenoble that read: 'Fascists in our lecture halls, Islamophobia kills', naming the two professors.

France has had a long and troubled history regarding the presence of Islam and free speech.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are widely regarded as taboo in Islam, and there have been many international instances of Muslim extremists attacking and even murdering people for showing or drawing images of the Prophet.

Arguably the most infamous example, especially in the context of France, was when twelve people were killed by Islamist extremists at the headquarters of political satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, after it published drawings mocking the Prophet.