Decapitated prof: pupil's father exchanged SMS with killer

Minute of silence in Parliament, Pantin mosque will be closed

20 October, 18:26

    PARIS - The father of the student who shot an angry video about the lesson on caricatures of Muhammad by history professor Samuel Paty, who was killed in a Paris banlieue, had exchanged messages via Whatsapp with the 18-year-old attacker in the days before the attack, said BFM TV. It said investigators are not currently aware of the content of the messages.

    Police have detained 16 people as part of the investigation led by the anti-terrorism prosecutor's office.

    Meanwhile, it was announced that the Pantin mosque just outside Paris would be closed, after the request was made on Monday by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, and the closure would take effect starting Wednesday evening. "The deadline for carrying out the closure is 48 hours; the mosque will therefore be closed tomorrow evening," a source close to the investigation told France Presse news agency. On Monday evening, speaking on TF1 news, the minister said he had "asked the Seine-Saint-Denis prefect to close the Pantin mosque".

    This weekend, after the assassination of Paty, who was found beheaded on Friday in the Paris banlieue, the mosque's directors admitted that they had released the video in which a father complained about the professor's decision to show the caricatures of Muhammad to the students. The mosque will remain closed for six months.

    French MPs on Tuesday paid tribute to the professor, playing the French national anthem after observing a minute of silence in front of the National Assembly, prior to another minute of silence inside prior to the opening of question time. A white march is planned for Tuesday in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, the municipality in which Paty taught and was killed.

    A national tribute is scheduled for Wednesday, starting at 7:30 pm in the courtyard of the Sorbonne in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron. Among other things, Samuel Paty will be posthumously awarded the Legion of Honour.

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