France has ordered the temporary closure of a mosque outside Paris as part of a crackdown on radical Islam. The move follows the beheading of a teacher who had shown pupils cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.
The Grand Mosque of Pantin had shared a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder venting hatred against the teacher.
However, the mosque head on Tuesday said he shared the video out of concern for Muslim children being singled out in class and not to “validate” the complaint about the cartoons.
Over a dozen people have been arrested following the beheading. Four pupils suspected of accepting payment for pointing out Paty to his killer are also in custody.
The 18-year-old assailant had shouted “Allahu Akbar” before he was shot dead by French police.
The interior ministry said the Pantin mosque, which has around 1,500 worshippers, would be shut on Wednesday night for six months.
The order was “for the sole purpose of preventing acts of terrorism”, the notice issued by the head of the Seine-Saint-Denis department read.
Police plastered closure notices outside the mosque as authorities promised a tough response against disseminators of hate messages, preachers of controversial sermons and foreigners believed to pose a security threat to France.
The investigation into the murder revealed the Chechen attacker had exchanged WhatsApp messages with a parents who wanted Paty fired after his daughter informed him how the teacher had shown cartoons of Prophet during a lesson on free speech.