France will close an Islamic preschool over suspicions about its teachings.
Rabat – The French Ministry of Education decided to close an Islamic preschool in Marseille for not complying with France’s academic rules.
In an interview with the French channel RMC Minister of Education Jean Jacques Bourdin said that the school, which relies on fundamentalist Salafi teachings based on physical jihadism, was closed on Monday, December 17.
#ENSEIGNEMENT ▶▶ @jmblanquer : “Nous avons les outils juridiques pour pouvoir fermer une école qui n’est pas dans les normes, et notamment celles liées à l’Islamisme fondamentaliste salafiste.”#RMC #BourdinDirect
?? https://t.co/biXKaaL4mK pic.twitter.com/uiVgbUOlHC
— RMC (@RMCinfo) 18 December 2018
The minister said that the school, not corresponding with France’s educational “norms” had “lied” about the situation of its students.
“Every morning, [the schoolchildren] would be accompanied to a place that looks nothing like a school,” the minister stated, as reported by French daily Le Figaro.
The minister indicated that a law passed in July gives the ministry the right to shut down schools that do not follow the country’s norms, especially those which adopt notions of fundamentalist Islam, for fear that the institutions would “indoctrinate” the children.
Bourdin announced that authorities will instead enroll the Islamic school students in traditional public schools. The school had only 43 students aged 2 to 6 years old.
French authorities are reportedly investigating the types of courses the school gave to the students and whether the courses bore any characteristics of “extremism.”
It is not the first time that France has closed an Islamist school. In 2016 the country closed an Islamic primary school in Toulouse, southwest France, that made children attend for more hours than the national curriculum’s regulations.
The Toulouse court gave the school’s headteacher a four-month jail sentence.