The schoolgirl who claimed a teacher asked Muslim students to leave the lesson before displaying obscene caricatures of Prophet Mohammed as part of his freedom-of-speech class lied about being there to avoid parental punishment.
The unnamed 13-year-old girl, whose story was deemed offensive by many Muslims, effectively set off a chain of events leading to teacher Samuel Paty’s gruesome murder in October 2020, having apparently admitted to lying about being present in the controversial class, according to her lawyer.
The girl hadn’t even been at school in the Paris suburb on the day history and geography teacher Paty supposedly showed the obscene images to the class, her lawyer Mbeko Tabula told the AFP news agency on Monday. Her name has not been made public due to her age.
“She lied because she felt trapped in a spiral, as her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson,” Tabula explained, without making it clear for whom or what she was supposed to be speaking.
The story, with all its controversial details, blew up after being shared on Facebook by her father. The reaction to the claims was swift and vicious. Paty soon began receiving death threats and was subject to a coordinated hate campaign by Islamic extremists both domestically and abroad, ultimately culminating in the 47-year-old’s murder by a complete stranger who had lived in France as a refugee after his Chechen family emigrated there.