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PoliticsWorldIslamist offensive in French schools: A history

Islamist offensive in French schools: A history

Close to Muslim Brotherhood, the CIMG rejects the West and secularism, linked as it is to Erdogan's party, and that’s one of many Islamist campaigns in France

On 16 October, France commemorated the second anniversary of the death of Samuel Paty who fell under the blows of Islamism for having done his job. It would be wrong to believe that nothing has changed since. The situation has greatly worsened, and the Islamist counter-culture is gaining ground at school in defiance of all French law and culture.

The media — maybe the police too — meanwhile, is trying to ‘normalise’ Islamism with alerts of different intensities every day, requalified as “news items” to reassure the people of France collectively by reducing the seriousness of the phenomenon; polls and worrying indicators on what “young people” think; how many teachers threatened, from Didier Lemaire in Trappes in February 2021 to a professor from Évry-Courcouronnes threatened with death in a letter last month.

In the year about to end in a little over a month, it is through clothing that Islamism is making an entry into schools. In August, a note from the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CIPDR) expressed concern about the desire to wear Islamic outfits in schools (people from India in general and Karnataka in particular can relate to it). After playing the card of caution, Minister of Education Pap Ndiaye was forced to admit at the beginning of October that there was a fundamental problem: “It is true that for a year, the number of reports relating to dress, let’s say Islamic, increases”.

The minister has since had the saner idea of ​​publishing a monthly report of reports of violations of the principle of secularism, which will allow meticulous monitoring of developments. The month of September was no better, with 313 reports of attacks on secularism recorded in the 59,260 secondary schools, a stable figure compared to the previous quarter (904 from April to July) but on the rise in the medium term (627 attacks on secularism between December 2021 and March 2022). Most of these reports concern the wearing of Islamic proselytising signs and outfits (54%) by students – we know who.

And while we count, the intensity of the Islamist campaign only increases. If a 2004 law in France prohibited wearing religious symbols at school, a growing number of Muslim students do not care and seek stratagems to circumvent it. On TikTok, hundreds of teenage girls are making tutorials to encourage their followers to wear substitute veils: transforming the headscarf into a turban, using a wide headband covered with a hood, or in the worst case tying their hair up to hide its length. The young men applaud and insult those who would be too prepared.

Beyond the veil, Muslims use the law’s ambiguity to wear “halal outfits”: abayas for girls, qamis for boys etc. More culturally than strictly religious, an increasing number of Muslim students wear these long tunics, which are completely contrary to French mores, without knowing whether they are contrary to the law. Even if they know, they do not care. When police arrest them, some brandish the receipt of a lambda store to prove that it is not a religious outfit. Helpless, the educational staff calls for more clarity on the legal level to be able to act.

Islamist campaign in France: Genesis, evolution

Albertville was until then world famous for hosting the Winter Olympics in February 1992. But since April 2021, the small town of 19,453 inhabitants has sadly found itself in the spotlight. In question, the decision of the administrative court of Grenoble summoned the Mayor of Albertville to issue a building permit to the Islamic confederation Millï Gorüs (CIMG) for the of an Islamic school.

According to the initial project, this school would have 16 classes (six in kindergarten and 10 in primary) and would plan to accommodate a workforce of 400 schoolchildren, this school would capture ¼ of the students educated in Albertville and would thus become the largest school in Savoie. The of building this school would amount to three million euros, according to the figures put forward by the CIMG and would be entirely financed by donations.

The Turkish organization Millî Görüs, already at the heart of the controversy around the of the great of Strasbourg, continues tirelessly to advance its pawns on French territory and this time, in the Olympic city. In his line of sight, the public school and the fundamentals of the republic.

Legal battles against Islamist campaign in France

  • In 2016, the Town Hall of Albertville, a municipality in the department of Savoie, tries to pre-empt the land on which the Islamic confederation Millî Görüs (CIMG) of Albertville wishes to build a Muslim school. The administrative court rejects this procedure, the Town Hall decides not to appeal the judgment.
  • On 25 February 2019, the CIMG of Albertville, submitted an application for an operational town planning certificate for the creation of a school group (private Muslim school) on a plot of nearly 4,000 m² located next to the current Turkish in Albertville in Savoie (Chemin de la Contamine).
  • By an urban planning certificate issued on April 18, 2019, the mayor of Albertville declares this operation not feasible.
  • Then, by order of 9 September 2019, he refuses to issue the building permit.
  • Faced with this refusal, the CIMG association decided to take legal action by filing a contentious appeal with the administrative court of Grenoble on 17 September 2019.
  • On 6 April 2021, the 5th chamber of the administrative court of Grenoble pronounced its judgment: It considers that the reasons given by the Town Hall are not permissible. It, therefore, obliges the mayor of Albertville to authorize the of the private primary school.
  • On 9 April 2021, to alert to this situation, the mayor of Albertville published a long article in the columns of Le Figaro, which had the effect of causing a reaction from those in the highest spheres of the State.
  • On 12 April 2021, the French government through its Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, added two last-minute amendments to the bill “consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic”. One establishes an obligation to inform the prefect three months before any public subsidy for the of a place of worship. The second allows the prefect to oppose the opening of non-contract schools supported by a foreign state “hostile” to the Republic.
    This new text tabled on the initiative of Emmanuel Macron and approved by the Senate in the process aims to fight against foreign interference on French soil, via the opening of schools without a contract.
  • On 27 May 2021, the town hall seized the administrative court of Lyon appealing the decision rendered by the Administrative Court of Grenoble for abuse of power.
  • On 16 December 2021, the Lyon Court of Appeal decides: the authority refuses a building permit to the Islamic Confederation Millî Görüs.

This judgment marks the end of the project, even if the CIMG can still decide to file an appeal with the Council of State. Nothing prevents him from re-submitting a new building permit either. This project to build a Muslim school in Albertville is part of this will to conquer the CIMG to become more and more influential in France.

Extension of network of schools of Islamic confederation Millï Gorüs

For the past ten years, private Muslim school projects have been growing exponentially in France. For example, in 2000 there was only one, whereas today there are 120. Turkey is particularly active in this strategy of conquest because, through education, Ankara can exercise control over its diaspora and extend its influence in the French Muslim community. The CIMG is its relay in France as far as education is concerned. Very often, Western journalists are mistaken in presenting the Islamic Confederation Milli Gorüs (CIMG) as a creation of the AKP party. It is quite the opposite, the Millï Gorüs is the genesis of the AKP, and the link is quite real.

Sirf News Analysis
Sirf News Analysis

On a certain number of national subjects on which Millî Görüs can hold the same discourse as Ankara, such as Sunni Islam, such as the question of halal, as prayer, but also nationalist subjects such as the genocide of the Armenians of the Empire Ottoman. The Millî Görüs, therefore, advocates a vision of society rooted in conservative Sunni Islam.

In France, the CIMG brings together several tens of thousands of faithful. “It’s a fairly powerful movement that controls 25% to 30% of the mosques frequented by Turks in France and benefits from strong local roots,” explains Samim Akgönül, historian and director of the Turkish studies department at the university. from Strasbourg, contacted by France 24.

According to the CIMG France website, the confederation has more than 300 associations with remarkable field experience. The CIMG would be a key player in the life of Muslims in France and would increasingly target the education of the Turkish diaspora. Its president Fatih Sarikir is also president of the European Union for private Muslim education (UEPM). This association manages ten school groups in France and does not intend to stop there. Through its UEPM network, the CIMG continues to strengthen its presence within private Muslim education in France. Moreover, several other school projects carried out by the same federation are underway in Strasbourg Bordeaux, Belfort, Besançon and Rennes.

The UEPM is an organization in the form of an association law 1901 whose purpose declared to the registry is to facilitate, support and accompany the establishment of private Muslim education establishment in France; establish and manage all types of private educational establishments; to help in the construction, the purchase of real estate aiming at founding private Moslem establishments; carry out any activity relating to education, teaching, training and culture in all their forms; carry out all school and extracurricular activities.

Even if the UEPM wants to be non-Turkish and non-Islamic as its president has been crying out loud and clear, for 5 years, the UEPM network has organized the final of the Quran memorization contest every year. Students from different UEPM schools can compete. This event helps to motivate children, encourage them to learn and set goals in this noble task of memorization. It also allows emulation of the Koran and promotes children by having them recite in front of an audience, which gives them confidence and assurance.

The Prophet (pbuh)* said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it”. (Alboukhari) [In French, Muhammad’s eulogy is often abbreviated pbsl (Peace and blessings be upon him)]

Presentation of the UEPM network in France, 10 private school groups outside the contract

Although the CIMG claims to have no ties with the AKP party, there are strong links between its Ankara-run mosques and its Islamic schools. Systematically, CIMG schools appear in cities where there are already mosques belonging to the Islamic Confederation. Simple coincidences, its schools are located near mosques, even at the same addresses.

As many as 70% of the schools of non-CIMG schools are located on the same sites as the CIMG mosques. This is the case for establishments of:

  • Corbeil-Essonnes, where the school group in the light of knowledge is located on the same site as the great mosque.
  • Vénissieux in the Rhône with the Arquam house school and the CIMG Eyüb Sultan mosque.
    Annecy in Haute Savoie, with the virtue college and the CIMG mosque.
  • Villefranche Sur/Saône with the blue feather school and the CIMG Blue Mosque.
  • Blois in the Loir et Cher, with the Al Ghazali school group and the CIMG mosque.
  • Bourgoin-Jallieu in Isère with the Fourquan school and the CIMG where 20 m separate them.
  • Savigny-le-Temple with the school la petite plume and the Great Mosque (55 m away)

The three other school groups are simply established in the same cities as the mosques but without immediate proximity.

  • Strasbourg in the Rhine, the Eyyûb Sultan school group is located 550 meters from the CIMG Eyyûb Sultan in Strasbourg.
  • Clichy-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis where the Groupe Scolaire Bellevue Muhammed Hamidullah is located 1.3 km from the Bilal Mosque.
  • Metz en Moselle where the Mimar Sinan school is located 3.6km from the CIMG Mosque.

Non-contract CIMG private school groups are Islamist

The danger of off-contract private schools not funded by the French state results from the fact that they are poorly supervised. Administrative controls are unfortunately ineffective. They have total freedom in their organization. anise. Headteachers can thus deviate from official curricula and provide lessons likely to indoctrinate students and compromise their integration into society. The educational methods and textbooks relay the politico-religious proselytism of Ankara.

These non-contract schools are financed freely by the tuition fees paid by the parents of pupils, by donations, or by foreign funds, they are not subject to the respect of the school program and are not recognized. by the State (they do not issue any national diploma). This means that parents of students who feel that the official programs (to which public and private schools under contract are bound) are not suitable for their children for religious, philosophical or other reasons, can choose a non-contract school, which is more compliant with their beliefs.

Very close to the Muslim Brotherhood, the CIMG also has an ultra-conservative politico-religious history rooted in the rejection of the West and any form of secularism. It is intimately linked to Erdogan’s party. Its Islamist militancy is inseparable from political, social and religious incarnation.

For the Minister of the Interior, the Islamic confederation Millî Görüs is one of “the enemies of the Republic”. A statement by Gérald Darmanin was made in April 2021 in response to several controversies. The CIMG is seen by the executive as Turkey’s undercover agent and therefore finds itself in its sights. In particular, since its refusal to sign the charter of principles of Islam in France in early April where the signatories undertake to fight against political Islam and against foreign interference. Millî Görüs is justified: the charter is ambiguous and “demonstrates the interference of politicians in religion”.

The new Turkish school curriculum is incompatible with the French democratic model.

At the start of the 2017 school year, a new school program was put in place by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmu. The conservative and religious precepts within the Turkish Republic, and more particularly the school, in defiance of secularism, are diffused there in a parsimonious and insidious way.

For the AKP, education must be thought of above all as the architecture of generations, in Turkey and abroad. Among the new measures, some are incompatible with French textbooks, such as:

  • Darwin’s removal from biology textbooks in Turkish schools. The theory of evolution, which justifies the transformation of species by natural selection, conflicts with the sacred scriptures of the Koran.
  • The setting up of religious classes promotes ‘good jihad’.

is an element of our religion: it is made to leave, and therefore it is the duty of the Ministry of Education to teach this concept in an appropriate way,” Minister Ismet Yilmaz said. “It is up to us to correct what is badly perceived, badly seen or badly taught,” he continued, referring to the connection, considered fallacious by many academics, of the term “jihad” with the idea of ​​Islamic terrorism.

This fear can be considered legitimate when one asks the question of the ambiguous links that Turkish President Erdogan maintains with international Jihadism. In the current Values ​​newspaper, Alexandre De Valle highlights Turkey’s position vis-à-vis Jihadism.

Turkish Islam on rampage in France

In March 2018, Alpaslan Kavaklıoğlu, MP for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and head of his parliament’s Security and Intelligence Committee said: “The Muslim population will outnumber the Christian population in Europe in 20 years… numerically, Muslims are the future of Europe” echoing its President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who declared in 2017 that Muslims “are the future of Europe”.

With a substantial and growing diaspora, Turkish Islam wants to be a conqueror in Europe. Proselytism orchestrated from Ankara plays an obvious role in the weak integration and non-assimilation of its nationals. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan no longer hides his desire to govern Islam in France and his fight goes through education in particular.

The danger of educational structures linked to Turkish networks results above all in the content of their teaching, which is not compatible with republican principles. These structures consist mainly of private Muslim schools, Koranic schools and online teaching organizations.

Through non-contractual Turkish Muslim schools, Ankara is trying to Islamize members of its diaspora with the aim of establishing separatism between the Turkish community and their host country. The AKP party thus has a double influence. on the Turkish community in France. This interference aims to destabilize the fundamentals of French democracy.

By infiltrating French education, the AKP party can insidiously spread its Islamo-conservative policy. Education is on the way to becoming one of its greatest sources of influence in the regions of France, which is worrying at the highest level of the State. Thus, during his speech in October 2020 on the fight against separatism, the French president heavily insisted on the need to free Islam in France from foreign influences. In Emmanuel Macron’s speech, Turkish interference was particularly targeted.

Translated from an article by columnist Rémi Carlu and another by Jean-Louis Elhias by Surajit Dasgupta

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