Caroline Fourest Reacts to Killing of Teacher Samuel Paty

Tens of thousands of people have rallied across France in tribute to teacher Samuel Paty, after he was beheaded on Friday at his school near Paris. The killer, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee, was later shot dead by police. Journalist Caroline Fourest reacts to the tragedy.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: People now are beginning to ask why is this happening in France, which has a culture, you know, of tolerance and a constitution that the talks about everybody being part of the same republic.

CAROLINE FOUREST, JOURNALIST: First, it’s not technically in France. Of course, those attacks have targeted almost all countries in the world. But you’re right, Christiane, we had a lot of those. We faced almost a terrorist attack every two months since almost eight years now. It’s a lot. Jews have been attacked on the street. Teachers now, before it was policemen, cartoonists, journalists, the priests, businessman has been beheaded a few years ago. First, because we have a lot of radicals, that’s a reality. We have almost 8,000 Islamist radicals in France. So, every time there is a campaign of hatred social network as someone is accused, for example, of islamophobia, it can get him killed, because one of those radical can take the target, take the bit and kill this person.

AMANPOUR: I was really quite struck by the fact that it looked like this teacher, Samuel Paty’s class was kind what came out of some reflection after the attack on Charlie Hebdo trying to explain to students the idea of religion, politics, extremism, versus tolerance and all that. Why was Samuel Paty showing the pictures and talking about it in any event in his class?

FOUREST: Because it’s part of the program actually. It’s the official program. It’s part of the mission of the public school to debate in classrooms about critical thinking, context, secularism, blasphemy, especially since the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, we reenforced those programs to help the students to resist to some extremist propaganda that radicalize them, of course, that they can have on their smartphone, that they can find on the internet. So, those propagandas are really destroying citizenship, radicalizing some youngs who join in the past ISIS, and this is why we reenforce in public schools those programs, the fact that we are supposed to have debate to explain to the young generation what is the context of those drawings, why they have been published because there is too much propaganda about that. And Mr. Paty was only doing this, explaining and even — the took the time to say to his students, if you don’t want to be part of the debate, you warm them, you can leave the room.

About This Episode EXPAND

Alex Gibney and Rick Bright reveal the tragic trail of missteps that have brought the U.S. into chaos during the COVID-19 pandemic. French journalist Caroline Fourest reacts to the death of teacher Samuel Paty. Technology journalist Kara Swisher discusses tech giants, conspiracy theories, and how Facebook is trying to step up.