The secular nature of France's public education system is being increasingly undermined by religious demands from Muslim pupils and parents, according to a new report drafted by the French government. The report, which describes the failure of French efforts to promote multicultural values, says that teachers in schools with a high proportion of Muslim children are being threatened on an almost daily basis by Muslims who object to courses about the Holocaust, the Crusades or evolution, and who demand halal meals and "reject French culture and its values."
The136-page draft report is titled "Taking up the Challenges of Integration in Schools," and has been drawn up by a French government agency called the High Council for Integration (HCI). The HCI was created by the French government to conduct research and to provide advice on issues related to the "integration of foreign residents or those of foreign origin." The HCI, which visited more than 200 schools and met with staff and others involved in education over a period of several months, will present the final report to French President Nicolas Sarkozy in December.
The report, among its many findings, says that Muslim pupils and parents in France are pressuring educators to stop teaching about world religions, the Holocaust or France's war in Algeria. They are also trying to silence discussion of events related to Israel and the Palestinians, or American military actions in Muslim countries.