An 18-year-old man of Chechen origin has been identified as the suspect in Friday’s beheading of a schoolteacher in a suburb of Paris, a French judicial source told CNN Saturday.
The victim was a teacher at a secondary school in the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine area, according to the French National Anti-Terror Prosecutor’s office.
Nine individuals have been taken in for questioning in relation to the attack, including the suspect’s parents, grandfather and brother, the judicial source added.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the teacher was a “victim of an Islamist attack. ” Speaking at the scene of the attack, Macron said the educator was “killed because he was teaching students freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not believe. ”
Multiple French media outlets, including CNN affiliate BFMTV, reported that the teacher recently showed controversial caricatures depicting the Prophet Mohammed to his students as part of a lesson on freedom of speech.
According to the French newspaper Le Monde, some Muslim parents complained to the school about the teacher’s decision to use one or more of the cartoons as part of a discussion about the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Nordine Chaouadi, a parent of one of the pupils at the school, told Agence France-Presse that the teacher had taken the Muslim children out of the class before showing the caricatures.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer described the attack as a “despicable assassination of one of its servants, a teacher,” and said his thoughts were with the family of the victim.
Friday’s attack comes as a trial continues relating to a series of January 2015 terrorist attacks which began with a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices following the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.