Terrorism/counterterrorism

Beheadings, stabbings, cartoons: French ethnopolitical tensions in October recap

By | Rachel Brooks

October 29, 2020

Featured above, the Notre Dame de Nice church where the extremist brutally slaughtered Catholic worshippers. 

October has proven a bloody month for France as repeat terrorism attacks highlight the ethnopolitical struggles within the European nation. On October 29, an Islamic extremist attacked worshipers in Nice, France. Sky News reported, at 5:45 am, live updates from the scene. The attack took place near the Notre Dame church. The mayor of Nice has strongly suggested the attack was an act of terrorism. A woman was decapitated, two others were killed, and several more were wounded as the grisly attack unfolded. 

One of the victims has been identified as Vincent Loques, a church worker. This was confirmed to Sky News by Eric Ciotti the deputy departmental councilor for Alpes-Maritimes, the area where Nice is based. Ciotti described Louques as deeply devoted to his church. They expressed their remorse on behalf of the entire Catholic community. 

The attacker, citing Reuters, was a 21-year-old extremist originally from Tunisia. The extremist shouted “Allahu Akbar” before carrying out his attack.

In the wake of the brutality in Nice, the French President Emmanuel Macron has placed his country on high alert. He states that France is “under attack” from extremists. President Macron’s war on extremism has further provoked Islamic extremist leaders in the nation, who believe the crackdown on extremist acts to be a direct attack upon the Islamic community. 

Macron commented on the attack in Nice in support of the Catholic community as the day unfolded.  

Catholics, you have the support of the whole Nation. Our country is our values, that everyone can believe or not believe, that each religion can be exercised. Our determination is absolute. Actions will follow to protect all of our fellow citizens,” tweeted Macron in French. 

Reuters has reported that, mere hours before the beheading and knifing of citizens in Nice, police had intercepted an attack in Montfavet near Avignon city. The police killed a man who had threatened passerby with a handgun in this incident. This shows the high alert that France is under. 

The Nice Mayor, Christian Estrosi, stated that the attack which happened at Notre Dame church, was similar in its execution to the attack on the teacher. The woman who was the victim of the beheading on October 29 has not been identified to the record at the time of this report. She was an elderly woman. 

The attacker also slit the throat of the church sexton. He then slashed another woman. Both the sexton and the elderly woman succumbed to death at the scene, but the third victim fled the scene and made it to a cafe. She died at the cafe. 

“It is France which is under attack. I have, therefore, decided that our soldiers will be more mobilized in the coming hours. As part of Operation Sentinel, we will go from 3,000 to 7,000 soldiers,” he added. 

Following the attack on the people of Nice, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan condemned the brutality, as was reported by Sky News. Quershi condemned the violence at a rally gathering of 1,000 people who were celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. 

Shah Mahmood Quershi has been an active voice against extremism over the course of recent weeks, calling for an end of Armenian extremism against Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. He also condemnded brutality in Madrassa as well as hearing Kashimiri students in observance of Kashmir Black Day. 

See acts of extremism in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Barda was outside the conflict zone, but was shelled by Armenia on October 27-28. 

Funeral of a slain child in Barda

This follows another beheading incident which was provoked by cartoons which were considered sacrilegious to the Islamic community. The extremist, a refugee and proven extremist,  was provoked by the cartoons into killing a middle-aged secondary school teacher who had used them as part of a class demonstration. 

Also in France in the month of October, the Daily Mail UK reported that two Muslim women had been stabbed near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. The attackers were white females. They shouted racial slurs at the Muslim women directly following an argument over dogs. One of the Muslim women had confronted one of the assailants, asking her to put her dog on a leash. The assailants refused, produced a knife, and proceeded to slash one of the women on her skull, arms, and ribs. 

Extremist violence is echoing across the world. In Cameroon, the fight comes, not so much from a war of faiths, as a war of languages. The battle for regional dominance continues. See more below, and in coming follow ups.

School children slaughtered as the Cameroonian conflict continues

The two women who were attacked were French of Angolan background. They were identified only as Kenza and Amel. Amel is the one who asked the women to leash their dogs. She had asked them to do so because the dogs were frightening the children in the women’s company at the time of the attack. Kenza believed the attack was provoked, in part, because Amel was traditionally veiled. 

Daily Mail reported that the assault on the two French Angolan Muslim women near the Eiffel Tower had directly followed the grisly murder of Samuel Paty. Paty, a 47-year-old teacher, had shown his class a cartoon that depicted the Prophet Mohammed being lampooned as part of a demonstration on freedom of speech. 

The brutal murder of French citizens and the hate crimes that ensue against Muslims highlight an increase of ethnopolitical tensions in France.

Republic Underground will follow up on this story.