France closes Paris mosque in clampdown over teacher’s beheading

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From AFP via Yahoo News

French authorities said Tuesday they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

The mosque in a densely-populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, said a source close to the investigation.

The interior ministry said the mosque in Pantin, which has some 1,500 worshippers, would be shut on Wednesday night for six months.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who vowed Monday there would be “not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic”, had asked regional authorities to carry out the mosque closure.

And on Monday, police launched a series of raids targeting Islamist networks. 

On Tuesday, the head of the Pantin mosque, M’hammed Henniche, said he had shared the video not to “validate” the complaint about the cartoon, but out of concern for Muslim children being singled out in class.

Four pupils suspected of accepting payment for pointing Paty out to his killer were also in custody Monday.

French teachers have long complained of tensions around religion and identity spilling over into the classroom.

Emotions ran high outside Paty’s school on Monday, where Muslim leaders gathered to offer condolences and distance their religion from the atrocity.

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