In the name of Islam a French teacher, Samuel Paty, was murdered in a most gruesome manner by a jihadist who decapitated him.

Such a heinous crime does not represent Islam. The religion with two billion followers globally does not preach violence, fanaticism, and the annihilation of infidels.

Thousands demonstrated yesterday in Paris and other French cities in the name of democracy – to declare that they will not be afraid, that they will not submit to self-censorship, and that they will make no concessions to terrorism.

After the international “Je Suis Charlie” phenomenon that followed the 2015 attack by Islamists on journalists at the offices of the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, the resounding slogans throughout France today are “Je Suis Prof” (I am a teacher). and "Je Suis Samuel".

Meanwhile, French teachers are declaring that they will continue to “instruct students in difficult subjects”.

That, after all, is the purpose of democracy – to encourage dialogue, critical thought, and the right to freely disagree.

Freedom of speech is the quintessence of democracy and that is what extremists who seek their identity in religion are targeting.

At times they operate through organisations such as the Islamic State and other times as loose cannons.

Whatever forms their actions may take, they are destined to fail either through persuasion or coercion.

Armed with the rule of law, democracy is capable of defeating any enemy.

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