Academy building’s flag at half-mast for French teacher
Paty was beheaded in the street on October 16 for showing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad from satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when he was teaching his class about censorship. In 2015, terrorists attacked the magazine’s offices because they had published the caricatures. The day of Paty’s murder, the suspects in this attack appeared in court.
On Friday, education ministers Arie Slob (Christian Union) and Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66) asked schools for a minute of silence regarding the murder. In this, they emphasised the importance of freedom of speech in schools, among other things.
‘The minister has appealed to us, but here at the university we think it’s really important anyway’, says UG spokesperson Jorien Bakker. France may seem far away, but freedom of speech is an essential issue at the university, too, she says. ‘It’s important to show our solidarity, since we’re all part of the education system. We wholeheartedly support that at the UG.’
The university isn’t just showing support by flying the flag. ‘As soon as it gets dark, we’ll shine the colours of the French flag on the front of the Academy building’, says Bakker. That’s because when the sun goes down, the flag must be lowered, too.