French national education aims to prevent religious radicalization among young school children. Yet, it stigmatizes them based on their appearance
I know they want to fight extremism within the French Muslim community, but I hardly think this is the way to do it. Begüm Tunakan reports on the controversy.
ISTANBUL — A new document entitled “Prevention of radicalization in schools” sent to the French school administration aims to prevent religious radicalization among French youths. However, it has provoked strong criticism from parents as the document signals growing Islamophobia in French society, and significant intolerance toward the Muslim community.
The document demands that teachers identify students who have a tendency toward radicalization. Teachers are also required to notify school administrators and the French government to keep those students on track. The criteria for suspicion include “an uncut mustache,” “Muslim clothing” and “weight loss due to intense fasting.” Apart from severe restrictions on appearances, it also includes a point on the “political rhetoric” that students develop in their homework on issues related to Palestine, Syria or Iraq, or religious issues.
The document was reportedly prepared by a team of education specialists and French police forces during the former Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidency in 2009 as a response to growing security and safety concerns towards Muslim communities in French society.