Freedom of Speech? Online Fury After Belgian Teacher Suspended Over Showing Prophet Muhammad Cartoon

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Earlier this month, French history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old teenager on the outskirts of Paris after Paty showed cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson, something that is considered blasphemous by Muslims.

A spokesperson for the mayor of the Brussels district Molenbeek, Catherine Moureaux, on Saturday said that a teacher from a local elementary school had been suspended for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad while discussing the recent beheading of a French teacher who had used the same images.

She added that “two or three parents complained” about the teacher, whose name was not revealed, about his using the cartoons previously published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are considered blasphemous by Muslims, with the publication of such cartoons leading to a deadly shooting at Charlie Hebdo’s office in 2015, when 12 people were killed and 11 more injured as a result of the attack.

Many netizens, meanwhile, were quick to express amazement over the teacher’s suspension, which they insisted rides roughshod over the freedom of speech.

Molenbeek has a substantial Muslim community and a couple of years ago, local media reported that at least 51 non-governmental organisations under observation in the district may have links to radicalism and terrorism.

In the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, then-Belgian Interior…

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