We perish because we know not… #TLENews
France’s first state-funded Muslim faith school says it will sue for defamation one of its teachers who resigned after writing in a national newspaper that the establishment was a hotbed of anti-Semitism and was “promoting Islamism” to pupils.
A week after the terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, Sofiane Zitouni wrote a first opinion piece in the daily Libération titled “Today, the Prophet is also Charlie”.
He wrote in a second article in the same paper this week that he had decided to resign from the school in Lille where he had been teaching philosophy since last September because of the negative reaction to the publication of the first piece.
He said that a colleague at the school told him that he “should know that you are going to make yourself a lot of enemies here, and I advise you to keep an eye over your shoulder when you walk down the street.”
“In reality the Averroès Lycée is a Muslim territory that is being funded by the state,” Mr Zitouni wrote. “(It) promotes in a sneaky and pernicious way a vision of Islam that is nothing other than Islamism, which is to say an unhealthy mix of religion and politics.”
He also said that “in twenty years of teaching I have never heard so many anti-Semitic remarks from the mouths of pupils.”
The school in a poor neighbourhood of Lille was the first Muslim faith school to be opened in France and has since its launch in 2004 been judged an “excellent” lycée by school inspectors and scores a 100 percent pass rate in the baccalaureate school-leaving exams.
Its principal, El Hassane Oufker, rejected Mr Zitouni’s allegations and said that he planned to sue him for defamation.
“This lycée was founded on the principles of openness and tolerance and teaches an understanding of Islam that is perfectly in tune with the values of the French Republic,” the school said in a statement.
The local education authority said that, in agreement with the principal, it would carry out an inspection to”verify that the school was adhering to the terms of the contract that it had signed with the state.”