A month after a teacher in France was beheaded for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his class, in the Netherlands fears were growing in the Netherlands that the impact of the attack was on. spread in that country.
On Friday, an 18-year-old woman in the Dutch city of Rotterdam was arrested on suspicion of online threats against a high school teacher who showed in his classroom a cartoon in support. Charlie Hebdo, the original French satire newspaper. Cartoonist Muhammad.
Local media reported on Thursday that another teacher had been threatened after he showed a caricature depicting Muhammad in a class on freedom of speech at a high school in the city of Den Bosch. .
“Actions related to freedom of expression in the Rotterdam and Den Bosch schools have resulted in instability and even threats,” the two Dutch education ministers wrote in a picture. letter sent to Congress to express their temper. Ministers Arie Slob and Ingrid van Engelshoven wrote: “Threats and intimidation of teachers of any kind cannot be tolerated.
At the heart of what happened at Emmauscollege High School in Rotterdam is a cartoon photo posted on a classroom wall a few years ago by a teacher that was shared on social media. The cartoon depicts a beheaded person wearing a shirt labeled “Charlie Hebdo” sticking out his tongue in front of a bearded man holding a sword, with the word “immortal” underneath, according to Dutch newspaper NRC.
Joep Bertrams, a Dutch political cartoonist, drew the cartoon in January 2015, when Charlie Hebdo was targeted by angry attackers at Muhammad’s caricatures during an attack. terrorism in Paris left 12 people dead.
Pictures of the Rotterdam classroom cartoons were posted on Instagram and Snapchat, and spread among the students, attracting some angry attention. “If this doesn’t get erased quickly then we’ll tackle it another way,” reads the caption under a photo of a cartoon in class on Instagram.
It is not clear whether this comment has anything to do with the 18-year-old woman arrested, but was not named, as authorities did not specify the nature of the threat she was accused of making. The post was deleted, but was included in the Dutch media.
The woman was arrested on suspicion of posting a message on social media that “incited others to commit crimes against the school and teachers”, police said.
The incident comes after schools in the Netherlands held a memorial service on Monday for Samuel Paty, a teacher who was killed in France last month.
The cases in France and the Netherlands highlight growing tensions between governments in the region that are taking a hard line on issues such as freedom of speech and many of their Muslim citizens have found documents such as caricatures produced by Charlie Hebdo and language. used to protect them from deep attack.
After Paty was killed, the French government launched a crackdown against Muslim individuals and groups that made many in the community uneasy. President Emmanuel Macron’s Interior Minister, a tough right-wing politician, who once suggested that Islam should be “fully assimilated with the Republic,” was a leading figure in that effort.
In a letter to parents on Tuesday, Emmauscollege High School said “the background around the cartoon has completely disappeared” when it went viral on social networks. The NRC reported that some students at the school, including a large number of Muslims, mistook the picture to depict Muhammad.
“As a result the threats were taken,” the letter wrote. “We find these threats unacceptable.”
In an interview, Mr. Bertrams, the Dutch cartoonist, said his paintings depict a terrorist, not Muhammad.
“I act against fanatics in a religion doing things I disagree with,” said Bertrams of his cartoon. “I have never drawn cartoons about the prophet, and I assume I will never, even if I could, because I respect religion.”
In Rotterdam, police increased surveillance around Emmauscollege, and Dutch officials urged teachers to report any threats or threats.
The threats have prompted officials in the Netherlands to warn of their similarities with the deadly events in France last month.
Paty, a 47-year-old history teacher, faced backlash from offended students after he showed Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures in a class on freedom of expression. Mr. Paty later apologized, but an angry father complained about him in videos he uploaded to social media. On October 16, an 18-year-old boy who watched the videos went to the middle school where Mr. Paty taught, and killed him on the streets after he finished school.
Lillian van Duijvenbode, a spokesman for the Rotterdam police, said: “What happened in France has attracted a lot of attention, we are taking these threats very seriously.
Dutch media and Mr. Slob, one of the education ministers who wrote to Congress, said the teacher in Rotterdam, who was not named, was in hiding. Emmauscollege declined to comment on the teacher, and the police declined to comment on his whereabouts.
Officials in France say a core pillar of the country, the public education system, has been targeted by the attack on Paty. And authorities there, as in the Netherlands of other countries, have vowed to protect freedom of speech, encouraging teachers to discuss Paty’s murder with their students.
Since the attack, the French authorities have reported a number of other related incidents. Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s Education Minister, said a minute of silence held in remembrance of Paty at French schools on Monday had upset some cases. And earlier this week, a teacher in a Paris suburb filed a complaint after she said she heard a man threatened to “avenge the Prophet” and targeted teachers near the elementary school. .
Rens Goedknegt, a history teacher at a high school in the Dutch city of Haarlem, said Paty’s murder and the Rotterdam incident were widely discussed at his school.
He said he talked about the murder of Mr. Paty with his students and that many of them felt “it was difficult to understand why such a cartoon would hurt.” However, he added, “it’s a good look at how the other kids will feel.”
Mr. Bertram, the cartoonist, said caricatures need to be contextualized when shown to students. The attacker he represented in 2015, he said, wore a black suit, reminiscent of the wearers of Islamic State fighters who were causing a stir at the time.
“A caricature is very helpful in explaining problems in society, because its simplicity makes it so easy to understand,” said Bertrams. “The danger is, because of simplicity, misunderstanding can also happen very easily.”
Constant Méheut contributed reports from Paris.