French bigots drive Muslim school to the wall
Today’s Guardian Education supplement on how bigots in a north Paris education authority are using bureaucratic methods to deny a Muslim school funding, forcing it to the verge of bankruptcy. Despite the supposedly strict separation of church and state and the ban on religious symbols in state schools, the state funds religious schools provided that they teach the same curriculum as state schools and submit to inspection. Only two Muslim schools receive this funding, however, and the school has applied for funding three times, but is invariably told that its application is somehow invalid:
“We have applied three times,” says Fazilleau. “Each time they say that some papers are missing from our file. But I was the person in charge of sending the file, and I can assure you nothing was missing.”
Fazilleau, who was born a Catholic, converted to Islam in her early 20s. She has been surprised by the treatment the school has received. “Had I heard our story from someone else, I would have believed it to be exaggerated. This is my country. It’s supposed to be a fair country.” Thirty years of living as a Muslim in Paris has changed her views. “I feel ashamed to say it, but it is obvious there is discrimination, almost segregation, against Muslim people in France. They just don’t want to give us the money.”
The mayor and the MP of Aubervilliers have been quoted as saying that the school seems to have received “abnormal treatment” from the government, that they have the impression that an “injustice” is occurring and that Réussite has been “condemned to death financially” …
Last June, Réussite submitted to its most recent government inspection, and received a favourable report. “An inspector came and asked me a lot of questions and inspected everything,” says Fazilleau. “He told me that our school was very good. He said he would give his authorisation for us to receive money.”
The school had expected this money to come through in time for the current school year. It received nothing. In September, a delegation from Réussite went to the Inspection Academique to try to find out what was happening. “Nine of us went to hear what they would say,” says Fazilleau. “When we arrived [the school inspector] told us: ‘As far as the administration here is concerned, there is no trace of your school. For me, you do not exist.’”
Réussite (meaning success) has a 100% pass rate in the Baccalaureate (equivalent to A-level), compared to 81% in the local area. Perhaps they will soon be asking them how many bubbles are in a bar of soap. Clearly bigotry and malice is at play here, as with the anti-hijab law these filth passed in 2004. Mort a la République!
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