How Samuel Paty’s murder reignited France’s free speech debate – podcast

The murder of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty has rekindled a long-running debate in France about secularism, free expression and the role of the state. Paty had shown his class two of the cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad that were originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Ten days later, after an online campaign against him, he was killed by Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old of Chechen origin.

The Guardian’s Europe correspondent, Jon Henley, tells Rachel Humphreys that the response to the killing by President Emmanuel Macron was swift and incendiary. His defence of laïcité, French secularism, is now a defining principle of the republic. However, Macron’s response has led to furious protests across the Muslim world.

The writer and journalist Nabila Ramdani tells Rachel that aside from the debate around free speech, any debate in France about radicalisation must include the appalling living conditions and life chances of the many French citizens from immigrant backgrounds.


Emmanuel Macron pays his respects by the coffin of Samuel Paty during a national tribute in the Sorbonne University courtyard, Paris, on 21 October. Photograph by François Mori/ AFP/Getty



Photograph: François Mori/AFP/Getty Images

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