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France: School has Muslim association but banned Catholic chaplaincy in 2020



This is exactly in accord with Sharia, which establishes full religious freedom for Islam while sharply restricting the rights and activities of adherents of other religions.

“In Lyon, the Ecole Normale Supérieure faces accusations of ‘favoring Islam,’” translated from “A Lyon, l’Ecole normale supérieure face aux accusations de « préférence islamique »,” by Antoine Beretto, Valeurs Actuelles, October 18, 2022 (thanks to Medforth):

Elected officials from the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region have protested against the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), which is accused of “favoring Islam” because of the conspicuous presence of a Muslim religious association on its premises. The school had banned Catholic chaplaincy only a few years earlier. A research.

Is this a new manifestation of the Islamic entrism that has been rampant in many schools in France since the beginning of the school year? This question arises again, this time on the Lyon campus of the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), where an association officially calling itself the Muslim Association of the ENS Lyon (AMENS) appeared at the beginning of the new school year in September. Apart from the obvious violation of secularism, it is the double standard that is causing outrage among some elected representatives, as Catholic chaplaincy has been denied access to the institution since 2020.

Isabelle Surply, MP for the Freedom, Identity, Sovereignty group in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and already known for having initiated the expulsion of an Islamist imam from a mosque in Saint-Chamond a few months earlier, was made aware of the incidents. The councillor, who otherwise presents herself as a whistleblower in the field of the fight against Islamism, immediately alerted the regional governing bodies about the presence of AMENS at the forum of associations of Normal Sup. In an email to the Vice-President for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, as well as to the cabinet of the regional president Laurent Wauquiez, the councillor expressed her astonishment that the association could be admitted by the school administration, which is contrary to the principle of secularity in force at the school. Thus, Article 43 of the school’s regulations recalls the prohibition of expressing religious beliefs. In fact, and in contrast to other secondary schools, this provision also applies to pupils “who have the status of probationary civil servants by virtue of the provisions of the Special Statute”, the text continues. This status commits pupils to a number of obligations that also apply to civil servants, including strict adherence to secularity. The presence of the association therefore raises questions, since it officially presents itself as a religious association whose particular aim is “to discover Muslim culture and practice” and “to enable the school’s Muslims to live out their spirituality to the full”.

The presence of AMENS raises all the more questions today because a few years earlier, the Catholic chaplaincy of ENS had been asked to operate outside the premises. In 2020, the school had referred to the cultic nature of the association and categorized it as a “political or religious organization” to justify its exclusion. Therefore, it is only a small step to see in it today an “Islamic favoritism,” as Isabelle Surply puts it. The 80 members of the chaplaincy continue their activities today in the church of Notre Dame des Anges in the 6th arrondissement, outraged by the presence of an association whose statutes, however, are clear. “I deplore the fact that there is confusion about the famous laicism. It would be good if the same policy applied to all: either you resume pastoral care or you exclude the Muslim association. It is astonishing that in a country like France, a Muslim association in a large school is better accepted than a Catholic chaplaincy.” An inconsistency also pointed out by Isabelle Surply, who called on the association to “change its statutes” in order to be readmitted to the ENS. “All or none,” she said.