French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday that the “Cheikh Yassine Collective” is to be dissolved due to its “direct” implication in the terror attack against teacher Samuel Paty and that further measures against radical Islam are to be taken over the next few days.
Talking to reporters from Bobigny, a northeastern suburb of Paris, following a meeting on how to fight Islamist terrorism, Macron said that over the past three years, “hundreds” of organisations had been shut down by the authorities.
“Decisions of this type against associations, groups of individuals, will follow in the coming days and weeks,” he added.
The “Cheikh Hassine Collective” — a pro-Palestinian organisation — which was “directly implicated” in the terror attack against the teacher is to be dissolved on Wednesday, he said.
Paty, 47, a history and geography teacher, was beheaded on Friday near the school he taught at in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, some 25 kilometres northwest of Paris.
The teacher had shown caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in class during a lesson on freedom of speech which had angered some Muslim students.
His killing has provoked deep emotion in France where schools are seen as the principal vector to impart the Republic’s secular values on every citizen.
Mass demonstrations to pay tribute to Paty were held across the country over the weekend.
Macron, who had caused controversy earlier this month for a speech on radical Islam which was criticised for stigmatising France’s Muslim population, said on Tuesday that the government “will we will further strengthen what has been started”.
“We know what needs to be done,” he said. “Our actions will continue: we have had the words, we have named the evil, we have explained the strategy.”
“Our fellow citizens today must be protected,” including French Muslims, “against this evil that is radical Islam,” he went on.
“Our determination is complete. The acts will be there. The Republic needs it,” he added.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, called for the government on Monday to dissolve two NGOs which he accused of having taking part in a social media campaign against Paty.
The Collective against Islamophobia in France and BarakaCity have both strenuously denied the accusations and announced they would file legal complaints against the government.
Mohammed Cheppih is a Dutch imam and proponent of a so-called “European style of Islam”. In 2008, he founded a liberal mosque in Amsterdam, that practiced exclusively in Dutch and allowed men and women to pray together.
Speaking to Euronews’ breakfast show Good Morning Europe, he said Islam has been part of European history for more than 1300 years.
“The problem is that we are living in societies that exclude each other and that’s giving us our issues. The compromise lies in including each other and understanding one another. We should be on the same page, instead of looking at Islam as a strange religion, as an extreme religion, that we can’t deal with. Islam is part of society. Muslims are European citizens and they have the right to be here. But they have to invest to make it more part of any kind of society. We have to find a way to talk as partners, instead of as victims and accused.”
_To listen to the full interview with Mohammed Cheppih, click on the media player above. _