Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, intolerance as a teacher in hiding amid Islam cartoon debate.

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A teen has been arrested on suspicion of inciting threats against the teacher.


AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday denounced what he called intolerable threats to freedom of expression after a Rotterdam teacher was forced into hiding following a classroom discussion on the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty.

Police said they had arrested a teenager on suspicion of inciting threats against the Dutch teacher.

It was not clear if the unidentified 18-year-old woman, who police said posted messages on social media, was a student at the city’s Emmauscollege high school, where the class debate took place.

Dutch PM denounces intolerance as teacher goes into hiding over Islam  cartoon debate, Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Police did not detail the content of the messages.

Premier Mark Rutte called threats against the teacher “absurd” and “intolerable”.

“We must be able to discuss topics such as freedom of expression in our classrooms without any outside pressure,” he told reporters.

“It may hurt when someone has an opinion that conflicts with your worldview or religious conviction, but they have a right to say so in all liberty.”

Schools in the Netherlands, France and Germany had been asked to hold a moment of silence for Paty, who was beheaded by a man of Chechen origin in a Paris suburb in October after showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

During a classroom discussion on Monday at the Emmauscollege, students noticed a satirical cartoon that had been hanging on a bulletin board for years, and some took offence.

The cartoon, which won a national prize in 2015, shows a decapitated figure labelled “Charlie Hebdo” sticking its tongue out at a bearded man with a bloody sword.

Dutch PM denounces intolerance as teacher in hiding amid Islam cartoon  debate - Respect Investment

A photo of the image quickly began circulating on social media, and on Tuesday the teacher who had led the discussion went into hiding due to what police said were serious threats.

Also on Tuesday, Le Monde reported that a school in a Paris suburb was closed after threats against a teacher.

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