Home Previous Story Next Story View Comments Post a Comment
The Islamization of French Schools
|AR Articles on France|
|France Sets the Tone (Jun. 2002)|
|A Festival for France (Nov. 1998)|
|Nationalism on the March in France (Apr. 1998)|
|More news stories on France|
An official report dealing with religious expression in French schools has become a must read for anyone interested in the Islamization of France. Written under the auspices of the top national education official, Jean-Pierre Obin, the report was not initially released by the Ministry of Education. But it was leaked on the Internet in March and now can be found in its entirety at www.proche-orient.info and other websites.
The 37-page report is the product of a study carried out between October 2003 and May 2004 by a team of 10 inspectors, including Obin. In addition to examining the recent literature on religion and schools in France, they visited 61 academic and vocational high schools in 24 départements, chosen not as a cross-section of public schools, but rather as schools typical of those where religious expression has become a problem because of the high concentration of ethnic and religious minorities. Many are located in ethnically segregated neighborhoods now often referred to, the report says, “by analogy with the United States, as ‘ghettos.’“
The researchers began by studying the neighborhoods surrounding the schools. Mostly, these were depressed areas abandoned by anyone with a secure income. The report describes the flight of “French” residents and “European” shops — sometimes after they have been the targets of violence — in tandem with the arrival of immigrants and the collapse of real estate values.
In primary schools, the report cites instances of first grade boys’ refusing to participate in coed activities and Muslim children’s refusing to sing, dance, or draw a face. In one school, restrooms were segregated: some for Muslim students and some for “French.” Some lunchrooms were segregated, by section or table. Some students required halal meat; at one school, the principal provided only halal meat for everyone.
According to the report, Muslim students perceive a large gap between the French and themselves. Even though most of the Muslim kids are actually French citizens, they see themselves as Muslims first, and more and more of them hail Osama bin Laden as their hero. In their eyes, he represents a victorious Islam triumphing over the West.
Finally, the report discusses a host of difficulties teachers encounter in dealing with specific subjects in the classroom. Most Muslim kids refuse to participate in sports or swimming, the girls out of modesty, the boys because they do not want to swim in “girls’ water” or “non-Muslim water.” When it comes to literature, French philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau are very often boycotted because of their supposed Islamophobia. Molière, the father of French satiric comedy, is among the writers most often boycotted.
(Posted on May 17, 2005)