The man had been known to French security services for his alleged “extremist views.”
Rabat – The French branch of Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD) has denied reports of its affiliation with Abdelhakim Sefrioui, one of the people in custody as part of the investigation into the October 16 Paris attack.
The PJD issued a press release to refute several news outlets that claimed Sefrioui is or was affiliated with the party.
In the press release, the PJD referenced Zanka 20, which reported false information on Sefrioui’s affiliation on Saturday.
Zanka 20’s allegation went viral on social networks, with several local media disseminating the same content.
In response, the PJD’s branch in France denied the authenticity of the news, stressing that the reports are “unfounded.”
To “enlighten” public opinion, the PJD described Zanka 20 as a platform “specialized in lying and slandering the Justice and Development Party, its leadership, ministers, and elected members.”
The party also confirmed that Sefrioui is not “a member of the branch of the party in France.”
The PJD stated that Sefrioui has nothing to do with the party.
The Moroccan-French national Abdelhakim Sefrioui is one of several people in custody after the murder of a French teacher named Samuel Paty, who displayed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of speech.
An 18-year-old Chechen refugee who had French residency attacked and killed Paty for insulting the prophet. French police shot him dead shortly after discovering the teacher’s body.
Connexion France reported that Sefrioui accompanied a parent of a student from Samuel Paty’s class to meet with the school’s principal before the attack.
During the meeting, Sefrioui and the “angry” parent called for Samuel Paty to be fired.
Sefrioui and the parent are among those in custody as part of the ongoing terror probe.
Who is Abdelhakim Sefrioui?
Abdelhakim Sefrioui is the founder of the pro-Palestine collective Cheikh Yassine and a member of France’s Council of Imams.
French media said the man has had a “fiché S” status for “several years,” which means he was known to police for his alleged “extremist views.”
Connexion France said Sefrioui’s name is known among French authorities and the anti-terror office.
The news outlet described Sefrioui as an anti-Semite who denounced “infidel” mosques in France due to their alleged links with Israel.
“He has also called for violence against the ‘Islam of France,’ has previously violently disagreed with imams in Paris, and taken part in pro-jihad, pro-Gaza, and pro-Hamas demonstrations,” the news outlet reported.
Rising tension in France
The brutal crime against the teacher took place amid escalating tension in France due to the recent stabbing near the former Charlie Hebdo office.
The suspect admitted that he wanted to set the building on fire in response to the satirical publication’s caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.
Emmanuel Macron vowed strict measures to fight against “Islamist separatism” and defend the freedom of speech in France.
The president, however, stirred backlash after saying that Islam is a religion “in crisis all over the world.”
He also said he wants to cancel a program of bringing imams to France from Muslim countries, including Morocco.
Several public figures condemned the statements from the French President, considering the remarks as potential fuel for Islamophobia.
The Secretary-General of the International Union for Muslim Scholars Ali al-Qaradaghi criticized the French president, telling him, “You are in crisis.”
“We pity a ruler who is still living in crisis and the specter of religious wars of the middle ages.”