A teacher at France’s only state-funded Muslim faith school has quit his job, writing in a leading newspaper that the establishment was riddled with anti-Semitism and was “promoting Islamism” to pupils, reports FRANCE 24.
Philosophy teacher Sofiane Zitouni wrote in left-leaning daily Libération on February 5 that the Averroès Lycée (high school) in the northern French city of Lille was a hotbed of “anti-Semitism, sectarianism and insidious Islamism”.
Zitouni, who is of Algerian descent and began teaching philosophy (which is compulsory for all high-school students in France) at Averroès in September, wrote that he could no longer tolerate the school’s alleged contradictions with France’s strictly secular “Republican values”.
“The reality is that Averroès Lycée is a Muslim territory that is being funded by the state,” he wrote. “It promotes a vision of Islam that is nothing other than Islamism. And it is doing it in an underhand and hidden way in order to maintain its [80 percent] state funding.”
Zitouni’s view of the school could not be further from how the establishment, which has been judged an “excellent” lycée by school inspectors, and achieves a 100 percent pass rate in the baccalaureate exams taken by all French high school students, sees itself.
The school’s director, El Hassane Oufker, told FRANCE 24 the school’s staff and student body were “hugely shocked and upset” by Zitouni’s comments and said that he would be suing him for defamation.
“We are in a state of shock,” he said. “The teachers are depressed and the students are very upset. We never got the chance to discuss [the allegations of Islamism]. We feel betrayed.”