French Muslim school faces uncertain future amid funding cuts

French Muslim school faces uncertain future amid funding cuts

FRANCE-Staff and students at Lille’s Averroès high school are concerned about their future after it was revealed by French authorities that public funding will be discontinued due to management issues and instruction they believed to be incompatible with secular French principles.

Is France turning its back on Muslim students?

Sihame Denguir moved her teenage son and daughter from their middle-class suburban Parisian home 200 kilometers (125 miles) away to the largest Muslim private school in France last year, which is located in Lille, a northern city. Financial sacrifices were required for the relocation. Denguir, 41, now rents a flat in Lille for her children and their grandmother, who moved to care for them, and pays fees at the partially state-subsidized Averroes school.

However, Averroes’ outstanding academic record among the greatest in France—was a strong lure. She was thus shocked in December when the school lost two million euros in annual government financing because it did not adhere to the secular values outlined in France’s national education rules. In a park next to her Cergy home, Denguir told Reuters, “The high school has done so well,” praising Averroes’ tolerance. It ought to be respected. It ought to serve as a model.

What’s behind the funding cut?

Following many fatal jihadist attacks in France in recent years by both foreign and domestic terrorists, President Emmanuel Macron has launched a campaign against what he terms extreme Islam and Islamist separatist. The far-right Rassemblement National (RN), which has a significant lead over Macron’s party in the European elections this week, is exerting pressure on the president. The campaign aims to counter what Macron has described as a long-term Islamist plot to seize power in the French Republic, as well as to reduce foreign influence on Muslim institutions in France. 

Macron claims that Islam has a place in French society and refutes any stigmatization of Muslims. However, rights and Muslim organizations claim that the government is violating religious freedom and making it more difficult for Muslims to express their identity by focusing on schools like Averroes. According to four parents and three academics Reuters talked with for this article, the effort might backfire and alienate Muslims who want their kids to do well in the French educational system, especially at top-tier mainstream schools like Averroes.

Will muslim students be left behind?

According to arabnews, Father of three girls attending Averroes, Thomas Misita, 42, said he learned in school that equality, fraternity, and religious freedom were among France’s tenets. “I feel duped,” Misita remarked, “I feel singled out, smeared, slandered.” “Even though I feel entirely French, it causes division. a tiny gap with your own nation.” The long-term viability of the school is currently in doubt. Headmaster Eric Dufour told Reuters in May that enrollment for the upcoming school year had decreased to about 500 pupils from 800, despite the school managing to raise approximately 1 million euros in contributions from people. As per rfi, The interior ministry was contacted by Macron’s office for comment, but they did not reply. According to the ministry of education, it did not apply the legislation differently to schools that practiced various religions. Averroes had shortcomings, according to the government, despite his academic excellence, citing “administrative and budgetary management” and a lack of openness. 

Since Macron took office in 2017, at least five Muslim schools have been shuttered by local branches of the national government, according to a Reuters count. Just one Muslim school that had been shut down by his predecessors could be located by Reuters. One additional school lost public money in the first year of Macron’s presidency, despite the former president Francois Hollande’s government’s May 2017 vow. According to data from the Education Ministry, since 2017, just one Muslim school has received public support, but under Macron’s two predecessors, there were nine overall. According to the National Federation for Muslim Education (FNEM), it submitted around 70 applications at that time on behalf of Muslim schools.

Call to action: Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024

Pairs is a state where Muslims community is under strong racism. Muslim students are not safe there. As per Muslims supporters for Pairs Olympics 2024 are also facing much difficulty from that side. France is not a safe country for fans and the public because there are many issues faced by the public. Pairs Olympics 2024 is almost going to start. Police brutality and Racism issues are increasing day by day in France so Fans should boycott this event. 



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