KEY POINTS

  • The school commemorated the death of beheaded French teacher Samuel Paty on Monday
  • A day after the commemoration, students demanded a teacher to remove a cartoon depicting Islamic terror from the bulletin board
  • The teacher went into hiding after getting threats online

A  teacher in the Netherlands went into hiding after receving threats over a cartoon hung in his classroom in Emmauscollege Rotterdam, reported NL Times. The incident was reported a day after the school's commemoration of the death of Samuel Paty, a French teacher who was beheaded in October for showing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed during a lesson.

The controversy began in the Rotterdam college when several Muslim students entered a classroom and demanded the teacher to remove the cartoon from the bulletin board. The teacher explained that the cartoon was only depicting a jihadist and not the prophet Mohammed, but the students continued to call it blasphemy, reported NRC.

Their protest continued online when a photo of the cartoon, reportedly taken by a student, was posted on Instagram and Facebook. It was then that the teacher began getting threats.

According to NRC, the cartoon that triggered the controversy had been hung on the classrom for around five years. Made by Joep Bertrams, it was about the attack on the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. It depicted a decapitated man in a Charlie Hebdo shirt, sticking his tongue out at the jihadist who had beheaded him.

The bulletin board in his classroom also had statements by spiritual teacher Krishnamurti and a photo of Pakistani women's activist Malala, which were all used by the teacher for discussions in class.

                rotterdam The incident happened a day after the school commemorated the beheaded French teacher, Samuel Paty. Photo: pixabay

The Rotterdam police confirmed that they have launched an investigation. “We are in close contact with the school and take visible and invisible measures to ensure that the threats stop. Furthermore, we cannot say anything about the nature and scope of the measures in this phase”, they said, as reported by Xinhuanet.

Education ministers Arie Slob and Ingrid van Engelshoven, who had earlier requested all schools in Netherlands to commemorate the death of Paty, issued a letter to the parliament raising their concerns about the incident. “It is completely unacceptable that the safety of teachers is under pressure because they convey the value of free speech,” they said, as reported NLtimes.

Samuel Paty, a French teacher, was beheaded on Oct 16 by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police shortly after the attack.