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Anger in Russia over funeral of 'God fearing youth' who beheaded Paris schoolteacher, as Chechnya denies glorifying terrorism

Anger in Russia over funeral of 'God fearing youth' who beheaded Paris schoolteacher, as Chechnya denies glorifying terrorism
Chechen authorities have denied that a funeral service held for Paris teacher-killer Abdullah Anzorov was a justification of terrorism. The 18-year-old’s body was repatriated after he was shot dead by police in France.

On Tuesday, local TV in Grozny broadcast footage from a ceremony held in Anzorov’s honor in the majority-Muslim region. The report stated that “Abdullah was a God-fearing youth and was not more aggressive than anyone else, his relatives say. And the incident wouldn’t have happened if not for open Islamophobic provocation and pressure on the feelings of believers, Chechens believe.”

The coverage drew a heated response online and in the media from those who believed it was too sympathetic towards the perpetrator of a terrorist attack. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that he had no detail on the funeral, but that the “only thing that can be said with certainty, of course, is that it was a terrorist act, which should not be subject to anything other than deep condemnation and rejection.”

Also on rt.com Hundreds of ‘threats & terrorism justification’ reported in France during month of tributes to beheaded teacher

However, a senior official in the local administration struck back at critics in a statement on Wednesday. The region’s Minister of Information and Press, Akhmed Dudayev, insisted that the television channel hadn’t sought to justify the attack and told reporters that “to accuse us of justifying terrorism is blasphemous and, to put it mildly, stupid.” He added that “the Chechen Republic is the only region in the world where international terrorists and extremists from more than 50 states have been fundamentally defeated.”

According to Dudayev, Anzorov was buried in the Chechen village of Shalazhi on Saturday, with around 200 people gathering for the event, in what was described as “an ordinary funeral during a pandemic.”

French authorities say he killed and beheaded middle-school teacher Samuel Paty, a 47-year old father, in October. Allegedly, the attack was a response to Paty’s decision to show his class cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, considered highly blasphemous by many Muslims, in a school lesson on free speech.

On Wednesday, Parisian newspaper Le Figaro reported that five more men of Chechen origin had been arrested in the country on suspicions of supporting Anzorov in committing the murder.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron sparked anger throughout the Islamic world when he insisted the country’s Muslims should support secular, “republican values.” Interpreted by many as an attack on their religion, the remarks led to a boycott of French products and the burning of effigies of the leader in countries across the Middle East and Asia.

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