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Police to close notorious Paris mosque after teacher killed

A mosque well-known to French authorities for promoting extremism is to be closed for six months following the beheading of a teacher just outside Paris last Friday.

The Grand Mosque of Pantin had shared a video only days before the killing in which teacher Samule Paty was strongly condemned for showing children the Charlie Hebdo cartoon depicting Muhammad.

Police, who fixed notices of the closure order outside the mosque yesterday, have promised a swift response against those who would radicalise Muslims.

Police say the temporary closure is “for the sole purpose of preventing acts of terrorism.”

Muhammed Henniche, rector of the Grand Mosque, said he regretted sharing the video on social media in which a father of one of Paty’s Muslim students called the teacher a “thug” and demanded he be removed.

The investigation into the killing, which had been preceded by a prolonged online campaign vilifying the teacher, has resulted in over a dozen arrests, including that of the parent who originally posted the video and four of Paty’s students.

Henniche told AFP News he had not shared the video to echo the complaint, but out of concern for Muslim children.

“There’s no room for violence in our religion”, the mosque said in a statement published on Facebook on Monday. “We strongly condemn this savagery.”

Paty, 47, was beheaded on his way home from where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres northwest of Paris on Friday.

His attacker, an 18-year-old Chechen named Abdullakh Anzorov, was later shot dead by police.

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