An Irish lecturer was stabbed to death by a student outside the Paris university where he taught on Wednesday for allegedly insulting the prophet Mohammed by displaying a drawing of him during class.
John Dowling, 66, was speaking with a student, identified by authorities only as Ali R., following a lecture when the 37-year old student fatally stabbed him 13 times in the throat and chest.
The suspect, who is set to be indicted for murder on Friday, told the authorities that, while he killed Dowling to defend his faith against a perceived slight, he has also long maintained a personal grudge against the lecturer, the Daily Mail reported Friday.
Government prosecutor Catherine Denis said that Ali has nurtured an ‘obsessive resentment’ against the university since it expelled him in September 2017.
“He came to France two years ago to join the management school, but did not pass his first year,” she said. “Since then he had been returning to the college, and had become unwanted to the point that he was not allowed in any more.”
Ali’s explanation for carrying out the murder, however, cited Dowling’s display of a drawing of the prophet Mohammed during class.
“He produced a drawing, which he showed off in class, insulting the prophet Mohammed,” Ali told the authorities, according to Denis. However, no other students recall Dowling displaying a depiction of the prophet.
French authorities have said there is no existing evidence that Ali, a native of Pakistan, was radicalized by a terrorist organization but rather that he was simply very “pious” and an “obsessive patriot.”
“We don’t have proof of radicalization, but rather a feeling that we’re dealing with someone who is very religious, very pious, very practicing.”
Publishing any depiction whatsoever of the prophet Mohammed is considered a serious transgression within Islam. The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s breaking of that taboo led directly to a 2015 attack on its Paris offices that left twelve people dead.
Students and faculty gathered Thursday outside the university to mourn Dowling, who had planned to retire at the end of the academic year.