Echoes of the murder of Professor Paty reach the Netherlands

EThe impact of the professor’s murder Samuel Paty it crosses the French border and divides the Netherlands. Beyond fear, anger and silence, we talk about cartoons, Islam and freedom of expression. You can see the full report in the video at the top of this page.

France was completely shocked by the brutal murder of Professor Paty and its echo resonates far beyond the country’s borders. He was beheaded for doing his job, showing the controversial cartoons of Muhammad, in a class on freedom of expression. Today, in Holland other professors fear for their lives when exercising their academic freedom.

One of the teachers at a Rotterdam secondary school has been absent for weeks. He is under police protection because he received threats after the commemoration of Paty’s funeral. The threat came because five years ago he hung a cartoon in the classroom in support of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

It is easy to see symptoms of fear in these three opinions recorded in the streets of Amsterdam

“The professor only exercised his constitutional rights to express his opinion. Whoever disagrees, speak about it and kindly ask him to withdraw it.”

“Showing something positive about religion is a good thing, but cartoons are rather negative.”

“I don’t think it’s really appropriate to put them in school, especially when there are children who also have some beliefs.”

The cartoon that reignited the debate in Dutch society shows the cartoonist for the weekly Charlie Hebdo beheaded sticking out his tongue at a jihadist with a bloody sword. Its titled Immortal.

Several Emmaus College students have mistaken the jihadist for the Prophet Muhammad.

The photo of the cartoon in the Dutch professor’s classroom was posted on social media shortly after Samuel Paty’s state funeral. A student was detained for death threats.

Emmaus College refused to comment to Euronews

Euronews knocked on the doors of eight mosques and the same number of schools, from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, but no one agreed to meet with us to discuss cartoons and freedom of expression.

In the end, a teacher from another school accepted. He said he never felt in danger, but asked to remain anonymous. We discussed whether cartoons should be shown at school:“The provocation must have a goal. If the intention is to shock and then have a conversation with your children about these things, then maybe it is appropriate. But, you know, I also talk about sex in my class. And we talk about pornographic movies, I’m not going to show those movies. We can talk about it without showing the photos. “

Two Dutch imams have called for the blasphemy law, repealed in 2013, to be reinstated. There is a strong front that believes that freedom of expression must be protected at all costs.

But what do the cartoonists say? We asked the head of a worldwide movement of cartoonists in Amsterdam if there should be limitations to his work.

The Dutch illustrator and cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards, explains the presence of violence as a conditioner: “To satire and draw cartoons in the media is to operate within the limits of freedom of expression and explore where those limits are. The difficulty today is that violence comes into play when talking about the consequences of cartoons. But not I think setting new limits will help because it will be mobile limits. __Cartoonists self-censor and there are topics on which they will draw or not. They have visual references that they will use or not. Freedom of expression is not unlimited “.

The Islamist attacks did not start with Charlie Hebdo, the threat comes from further behind. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten was the first to publish satirical cartoons of Muhammad in 2005. The French weekly republished them and added more.

For Philippe Val, former executive editor of Charlie Hebdo, humor should not be seen as a provocation:“In no way is it a provocation. Exercising the right to freedom to caricature and freedom of the press is not a provocation.”

Everyone knows what happened next. The deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo 2015 marked the beginning of a series of jihadist attacks that have claimed around four hundred lives in Europe, more than two hundred in France.

The teacher Samuel Paty it was one of them and it was not an isolated attack. Just weeks later in Nice, an Islamist terrorist attack killed three people in a Catholic church.

Vienna was next. A shooting near a synagogue left four dead. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State.

But what is the implantation of radical Islam in the Netherlands? Is it fertile ground for a terrorist attack? We asked a Muslim organization representing seventy mosques in Rotterdam.

His job is to mediate between Islam and civil institutions. In front is Zakaria Chiadmi: “I cannot assure one hundred percent that that will never happen here. We had our share of incidents in Holland, not directly from the Muslim community, but from lone fighters.”

The murder that marked the Netherlands is that of one of the country’s most controversial and famous figures. Bicycles pass over a chalk silhouette without even noticing it in Amsterdam in the place where the film director and producer Theo Van Gogh he was assassinated 16 years ago. He enfant terrible Dutch paid with his life for his criticism of Islam.

The editor Ebru Umar worked with Van Gogh for years. She is a no-excuses and no-pretext advocate for freedom of expression. He learned the hard way that it comes at a price:“Everything we wrote was fun, but it was also challenging. But there was humor in what we wrote. We never imagined that there would be a murder for Islamic religious reasons. And suddenly, it happened. __ It happened in France now, but one day it will happen here too. We want to ignore it as long as it doesn’t happen to us at home, as long as it doesn’t affect us, until then we keep quiet. “

Van Gogh was a very charismatic man of the right. It was shocking, like your documentary Submission_, _ on the degradation of women in Islam and forced marriages. His explicit and provocative scenes were the ones that triggered his murderer by a Dutch-born Muslim. His colleague condemns the silence that ensues after such killings.

Violent protests broke out across the Muslim world in 2005 and 2006 after cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were published. Hundreds of people died during the riots.

The same scenes continue to occur today. It is the response of Muslim countries to the announcement of the French president Emmanuel Macron of a campaign of repression against Islamic radicalism. He announced the campaign before and after Paty’s death. Consequently: what has changed since 2015?

Royaards acknowledges that Since Charlie Hebdo, everything has gotten more dangerous. It has become more unpredictable. We have received more threats due to our work. So in general, it has become a more complex environment for making cartoons. “

The dilemma is between the regression of the Western world and the renouncement of secular principles due to pressure or threats or the need for the Muslim community to reconsider its concept of blasphemy and public liberties.