The ex-immigrant rights activist now marching to the tune of France's far-right

By and

Last week parents of pupils at around 100 French primary schools kept their children at home following unfounded rumours that they were being taught 'gender theory'. Education minister Vincent Peillon felt obliged to order parents to be summonsed to schools to explain that the claims being spread in a concerted text and email campaign were untrue. The woman behind the school boycott call – which exploits a favourite issue of the far-right and hard-line Catholics - is 55-year-old teacher Farida Belghoul. Yet Belghoul was not always involved with the far-right; in the early 1980s she was a high-profile left-wing campaigner on immigrant rights. Lucie Delaporte and Rachida El Azzouzi report on her political journey.


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Writer and activist Farida Belghoul, a prominent figure in the early 1980s, has once again got people’s attention. Her campaign to get parents to boycott schools over unfounded claims that primary school pupils are being taught 'gender theory' with explicit sexual messages has catapulted her back into the limelight after decades in the wilderness. Although only a relatively small number of parents of children at around 100 primary schools obeyed the boycott and kept their children at home on January 24th and 27th, the issue quickly provoked a major political row. Last Wednesday education minister Vincent Peillon even felt obliged to tell headteachers to summon the parents concerned to explain the true nature of the 'ABCD of equality' lessons, which aim to promote equality between boys and girls.