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Why French teachers are afraid Following the murder of Samuel Paty, many 'foot soldiers of the Republic' feel abandoned to extremists

'Teaching kills!?' Credit: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

'Teaching kills!?' Credit: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images


January 19, 2021   6 mins

Imagine being a teacher in France. You come out in a cold sweat at the prospect of telling your class about Voltaire, Rousseau or Diderot. You’re terrified one of their parents will post your details on an extremist forum. You leave your workplace after dark wondering if someone’s waiting to attack you. Shocking as it may seem to British ears, this is the reality for secondary school History teachers across the Republic.

There always was an element of amicable combat in French education, of course; it encourages intense engagement. Teachers have been considered and trained as the foot soldiers of the Republic since the 1880s. With the birth of the Third Republic, education was wrested from the hands of the Catholic Church and made free, mandatory and secular. During their training years, teachers were nicknamed the “Black Hussars”, since they wore a black uniform and looked decidedly serious.

Their task was to spread rational thinking, esprit critique, the values of the Enlightenment — and to root out religious intolerance and superstition from their classes. In every village, across France, they gained status, offering a counter-power to the local priest. Their aim was clear: to emancipate young minds that had been too long controlled by the Church. It wasn’t easy.

Today, still, teachers are seen as playing a crucial role in French society by educating future citizens, by teaching them to reason and think critically. Many French teachers consider their work a public duty, which they carry out with determination, conviction and sometimes a heightened sense of sacrifice. Samuel Paty was among them, before he was brutally murdered by an 18-year-old Chechen Islamist on 16 October.

His assassination has revealed the many failures of an institution and its people, but it has also prompted a new determination to tackle the roots of religious separatism — which has been gaining influence in France since the 1980s. A recent poll conducted by the IFOP institute for the Jean Jaurès Foundation, on the sixth anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, shows that “religion has seeped through State Education in a way that is now affecting teachers’ work and lives.” Teachers and their managers tend not to confront it with the resolve and courage of their predecessors. This is indeed one of the most shocking findings of this poll: for fear of ruffling too many feathers, scared for their personal safety, many teachers in France resort to self-censorship.

Fatiha Agag-Boudjahlat, who teaches History and Geography in Toulouse, is an anomaly: an educator willing to publicly declare her political opinions. In her essay “Le Grand Détournement”, which gained her the Laïcité Award in 2019, she argued that a semantic aberration was slowly undermining French democracy. Little by little, she wrote, concepts and words have been turned upside down, or “deviated” from their meaning, by relativists of all hues: tolerance is being used to justify intolerance, antiracism to validate essentialism, and feminism to claim, for instance, that religious garments are a new form of freedom for women.

Agag-Boudjahlat has suffered for her outspokenness. Last week, she was granted protection from the Education Ministry, after receiving aggressive criticism for a Facebook post. In it, she rejoiced that the overwhelming majority of her pupils had embraced a homage to Samuel Paty that her school, like almost every other in France, had organised for 2 November. The nation was still reeling from the History teacher’s decapitation a fortnight earlier, and only a handful of pupils, Fatiha said in her post, had not wanted to take part. Born abroad, they and their parents had not yet assimilated the values of the Republic, but she hoped they soon would. Her message was positive, clear and moderate.

And yet, two teachers’ unions associated with VISA, a violent “antifa” organisation, produced a flyer calling for her to be sanctioned; worse, they labelled Agag-Boudjahlat a racist and far-Right sympathiser. Such libellous behaviour is now a common ploy used by the far-Left in France to intimidate and silence universalist and secular voices such as hers.

“I am the child of poor Algerian immigrants,” Fatiha told me:

“My seven brothers and I have done very well thanks to France. What is beautiful in France is the political concept of a Nation. And what Islamists and their fellow travellers can’t stand is the success story of people like us. School in France is a place of greater safety, a haven from dogma where you are given the tools to question the world and think for yourself.”

She senses “the condescendence of the far-Left activists, often of privileged background, who would like her, and children of immigrants like her, to always feel victimised, full of resentment towards France”. This in turn plays into the hands of Islamists “who hate the emancipation French education gives its children.”

When she speaks, Fatiha reminds me of the quiet passion and forceful clarity of my History teachers when I was at school in 1980s Paris. The strength of her argument lies in its intelligibility: she does not use the deceitful jargon of ideologues. Everybody from the age of 7 could understand her when she talks of what makes a nation, and how individuals of different origins can embrace a common destiny and common values.

And yet France has changed a great deal since Fatiha and I were at school. The edifying new reality is this: 49% of teachers (and 62% of teachers under the age of 30) censor themselves, in order to avoid tension in their class. This is 13% more than in 2018. A majority of teachers, 59% of them, say they have witnessed aggressive behaviour either in their classroom or at their current school due to religious separatism.

The animosity takes many forms. It crops up during lessons on secularism or gender equality; during cultural school trips, when pupils refuse to enter a place of worship that is different from their own; at the canteen, where they refuse to eat what’s on offer or simply refuse to eat at the same table as other pupils of a different religion. Agag-Boudjahlat is angry at fundamentalist parents who provide complacent medical certificates stating that their daughters are “allergic to chlorine” simply because they don’t want them appearing in swimming suits. “We must save those girls. Knowing how to swim can be life-saving!” she says.

The poll shows that such occurrences have increased by 10-15%, compared to 2018. “Certain topics and classes sometimes clash with the absolutist prism of Religion on subjects such as body representation, Darwinism, democracy, values of the Republic,” comments Iannis Roder, director of the Education Observatory at the Jean Jaurès Foundation, and himself a secondary school History teacher. Today, many pupils and their parents don’t just question the moral and intellectual authority of teachers — which can be healthy; they simply refuse authority in the same way they refuse to accept facts.

So teachers find themselves having to negotiateand dither in passing on knowledge. The weekly magazine Marianne reported last week the experience of two History teachers who did not want to be named. One is 34 and has been a teacher for seven years in the Seine-Saint-Denis département, north of Paris. She confided of “fear, or rather unease is a daily feeling.” “Caution” is what defines everything she does or says, especially when she knows she will have to talk about current affairs. “We are constantly walking on eggshells. We also have to anticipate the pupils’ reaction and that of their even more hardliner parents.”

Another History teacher, aged 41, told the magazine:

“my pupils are little informed, their arguments are usually weak, but their virulence is constant. Recently, we were talking about the Armenian genocide. Two pupils of Turkish origin asked me to withdraw what I had said and to apologise. They had the support of most of the class, and said I offended their culture. I simply stated that I was talking about a historical fact, nothing more.”

If many French teachers are afraid to teach today, it is because they feel unsupported by their managers. The chain of command has too often been replaced by a chain of renunciation. Those teachers who still see themselves as foot soldiers of the Republic are left to defend themselves, becoming easy prey to fundamentalist parents and social networks’ relativist culture. After Samuel Paty’s class on Freedom of Speech, a pupil who wasn’t there spread lies, her Salafist parents organised a hate campaign on social networks, a radicalised imam got involved, and ten days later an islamist from Normandy travelled to his school outside Paris with a set of knives.

And yet, many History teachers like Agag-Boudjahlat soldier on. “One of the things I try and teach my pupils,” she says, “is that there are facts and that there are opinions. Of those, there are many different acceptable and respectable opinions. I tell them that nobody is defined by their opinions alone, that an opinion is not an identity, and even more importantly that opinions can evolve.”

Despite the culture of fear, malaise and self-censorship, its most extreme realisation — the traumatic assassination of Samuel Paty — has encouraged some teachers to report parents and pupils who are undermining their work, or threatening them. Cases of religious radicalisation are increasingly being flagged up to the authorities. The fight is going to be long and difficult though; Agag-Boudjahlat worries that too many of her colleagues are either indifferent, ignorant or even complacent. Foot soldiers they are not. It is now for the Republique and its citizens to support and protect teachers who simply wish to do their jobs — to teach facts, and allow a range of opinion. In other words, to be true to Voltaire’s teachings of tolerance.


Agnes Poirier is a French journalist, writer and broadcaster.

AgnesCPoirier

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Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago

Throughout the western world all authorities and most citizens are trying to play whack-a-mole with this problem, instead of addressing it at source.

Muslims are taught to oppose unbelievers until they are (ideally) converted to Islam, or in a permanent condition of subjugation to the Muslims in society or, failing that, slain. E.g. ‘But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem; but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them…’ (9.5)

This command is not place-specific and time-specific, such as the Divine injunctions to the people of Israel in Old Testament times (when, for instance, they were ordered to massacre the Amaleks).

The Koranic injunction is good for all times and all places during the remainder of the history of the world.

So it follows that Islam is not compatible with any other belief system on Earth: not Agnosticism, Atheism,Ba’hai, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhism, anything.

From time to time, under various kinds of emotional, spiritual or other presssure, devout Muslims who take their religion completely seriously will feel the need to obey what they believe God has required of them; and go on a killing-rampage in such countries as are not Muslim or nor sufficiently Muslim or not Muslim in the right way.

This is a problem for their fellow-believers to handle, not for all the other people on Earth who do not share their faith to start with.

Terrorists, however – of any kind – tend to be a tail which wags the dog it belongs to. Too many Muslims are frightened by the ‘extremists’ (i.e. ardent believers) in their midst to make this stand in the countries where they are minority populations. In lands where Islam is professsed by the overwhelming majority – e.g. Algeria – the entire forces of the state battle ruthlessly with the ‘extremists’ and take no prisoners.

That sort of thing is not going to happen where Islam is a minority profession.

The real solution, therefore, is for mankind to create a binary world; in which all countries are divided into two groups: those which profess Islam, those which do not; and all Muslims leave the latter and enter the former; all non-Muslims leave the former and enter the latter; and from then on there is no traffic between them.

Until this happens, people everywhere will cringe and cower – and do so in vain. There will always be fresh outrages, cruel, and ineffectually opposed.

nick harman
NH
nick harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

That sounds completely impractical. You’d need two planets.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Why?

Interdict travel between the 56 Muslim countries and the 140 others, put a military cordon sanitaire round one or the other of these groups of lands; and we are home and dry.

What you may be saying is that you lack the will to take a practical tough line about this problem; just as most politicians lack the will to stop the policy of allowing mass immigration to our country.

But that is not the same as saying that a sufficient resolve to stop it would not work.

All that is lacking is the will.

Anne Poitrineau
AP
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Might be tough, but it is impractical. Most Muslims, most people everywhere want to live their lives in peace with their neighbours. What is needed, is for these people who do not want to make waves and confront the extremists to feel that they are supported.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago

Islam, after a pause of some 3 centuries, went back on the warpath at the time of the Shah of Persia’s dethronement (1979).

That is 41 years ago.

In that period all manner of attacks on people, buildings, massacres, threats have taken place across the world.

You say ‘What is needed is for [the people] who do not want to make waves and confront the extremists to feel that they are supported’.

That was true in Russia from 1917 (Inclusive) onwards – Britain sent money, soldiers, agents galore (one of them was Somerset Maugham); but nothing came of it. The Bolshevik Revolution succeeded entirely.

It was true also of Germany throughout the 1930s. The minority of highly-placed sane Germans begged the British to oppose Hitler and dethrone HIM; and they didn’t do it.

In warfare as in politics, it is the dynamic people who make the running; the others sitting in committees like Neville Chamberlain, Boris Johnson – almost any politician you can name or imagine – simply have not got the spine to do it. That was one of the ways in which Churchill was so extremely exceptional. Would any other member of the UK Cabinet in the summer of 1940 have had the sheer guts to order the sinking of France’s navy; then the third in size and the most modern in the world (in order to stop it falling into German hands)? Hitler went berserk with rage, and probably also disbelief. He had not supposed any Western politician had it in him.

If the government in countries like ours presented the entire local Muslim population with a dire threat – shop your radicals, every day in every way, or we will perpetrate horrors upon you; then just possibly your scheme might work – through that cruel ugly manoeuvre.

But – rightly enough – that is not going to happen.

You plead for practicality. That is exactly what I am doing and fail to see in your approach.

Michael Cowling
MC
Michael Cowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The Muslim Brotherhood is from well before the Shah.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Alternatively – we could simply stop going along with assumption that Islam is “a religion”.

kath.humphreys27
KH
kath.humphreys27
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

I agree with nick harman. Your solution is impractical. I think Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s (and other Islamic text reformers such as Majid Nawaz) solution has much more chance of success.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago

And I do not.

vince porter
VP
vince porter
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The fellow travellers of the social justice set are equally irrational in enabling Muslim adamancy, and, our university humanities/teacher-education departments are turning them out like bottled beets coming off an assembly line.

Daniel Björkman
DB
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

I’m getting really tired of hearing that argument. And not because I have any fondness for Islam, which strikes me as an especially dumb, loud religion even in comparison to all the other dumb, loud religions.

Look, here’s the simple truth: people always interpret their supposed “holy writ” to mean whatever they want it to mean. When they want to obey a rule, it’s indisputable and divine. When they don’t, then it magically turns out that it was just metaphorical, or only applied to a certain time or place, or God was just kidding about that one, or whatever else they can come up with. People are not computers, and scripture is not code.

Ironically, you are actually excusing the jihadists and the terrorists by claiming that they are just following orders. No, they are small, angry men who hate it that the world isn’t showing them the fawning respect they think they are due. If you gave them the meekest, mildest, most hippie-dippie-peaceful commandments imaginable, they would still find some way to creatively interpret it to mean that they should try to bully everyone else into submission.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago

Your last paragraph contains a very strong debating-point. So what is the practical solution you offer?

Do you proceed from noticing that small angry people ‘who hate it that the world isn’t showing them the fawning respect they think they are due’ to argue that they should be hunted down like wild animals and executed?

After all, various phenomena have obtruded their outcomes these past 20 years.
[1] Imprisoned, whether or not for life, the radicals tend to radicalize much of the prison population around them.
[2] Outreach programmes for making them more moderate in their thinking have some success but not in all cases; and there is always a new ‘generation’ coming on, full of the same sound and fury.
[3] Moderate muslims in non-Muslim countries deprecate and deplore the ‘extremists’ – so did multitudes of Germans in the 1920s and 30s – but they don’t have the courage or the heft to stop the plethora of hate preachers in their mosques and madrassas.

Let us have some PRACTICAL and NEW suggestions, please for dealing with regular outbreaks of atrocity, wholly unnecessary, wholly unjustified in countries across the world.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

1) Ban all further immigration of Muslims, from anywhere in the world – until such hypothetical time as Muslims, collectively, can show that they are responsible people.

2) End the temporary residency permits of non-citizen Muslims who are residing in non-Muslim countries.

3) Hold all Muslims – including those Muslims who are citizens of non-Muslim countries, and therefore cannot be deported from them – in contempt.

4) Question the frequently-made argument, that Islam is a religion.

Pete Kreff
PK
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

Look, here’s the simple truth: people always interpret their supposed “holy writ” to mean whatever they want it to mean.

To some extent, yes. But you’re ignoring another simple truth: the religion whose scripture contains by far the most plausible rationale and justification for terrorism is Islam. The religion was founded by a warlord, who personally killed and had others killed but is said to have led the perfect life. The religion’s name translates as “submission”. Its holy book is said to be the literal word of god and its commandments are specifically said to be immutable for all time. There are explicit instructions to kill in the religion’s name. Unbelievers are described in almost subhuman terms, with Jews getting it worst – the Koran is obsessed about unbelievers and one particular ethnic group. And it is not a fringe doctrine that being killed while fighting for god gives absolution for former sins.

If you’re a violent person by nature (whatever that actually means), one religion lets you channel that violence in a way that is permitted, encouraged and even divinely sanctioned and ends up with you being one of god’s favourites.

Ironically, you are actually excusing the jihadists and the terrorists by claiming that they are just following orders.

Why do you claim he’s excusing them? Just because he implies that jihadists are following orders, that does not mean he’s excusing them for their actions.

No, they are small, angry men who hate it that the world isn’t showing them the fawning respect they think they are due.

Many Islamist terrorists have been well-educated, fairly well-off and successful professionals. They are not all a bunch of Incel-style losers, as you’re suggesting. They are not all men, either.

If you gave them the meekest, mildest, most hippie-dippie-peaceful commandments imaginable, they would still find some way to creatively interpret it to mean that they should try to bully everyone else into submission.

Funny you ended with the word “submission”, don’t you think?

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

If, I may – “AND, is said to have led the perfect life…”

Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

While you can find grounds in the Bible for killing those you hate, I don’t think you can in the Torah, interestingly.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Neither.

George Lake
GL
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Really? This is the opinion of the Wikibeast!
“The Torah and Talmud prescribe stoning as punishment for a number of offences” to whit:

Touching Mount Sinai while God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments, Exodus 19:13
An ox that gores someone to death should be stoned, Exodus 21:28
Breaking Sabbath, Numbers 15:32″“36
Giving one’s “offspring” “to Molech” Leviticus 20:2-5
Having a “familiar spirit” (or being a necromancer) or being a “wizard”, Leviticus 20:27
Attempting to convert people to other faiths, Deuteronomy 13:7″“11
Cursing God, Leviticus 24:10″“16
Engaging in idolatry, Deuteronomy 17:2″“7; or seducing others to do so, Deuteronomy 13:7″“12
“Rebellion” against parents Deuteronomy 21:18″“21.
Falsely presenting a bride as a virgin, Deuteronomy 22:13″“21
Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman engaged to another man in a town, since she did not cry out, Deuteronomy 22:23″“24; both parties should be stoned to death.
Forced sexual intercourse between a man and a woman engaged to another man in a field, where no one could hear her cries and save her, Deuteronomy 22:25″“27; the man should be stoned.
Sexual intercourse between two men, Leviticus 20:13
QED.

Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Those are all defined offences, though, where you have to do something to get the penalty. In the Koran you only have to be something and that’s reason enough for you to die. Hence it calls Jews pigs and instructs its followers to kill them and infidels for being Jews and infidels.

George Lake
GL
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

No quarrel about the Koran, homicidal drivel at best.
However there seems to be a fair bit of hate in the Torah towards certain deviant behaviour.

Anyway it rather reminds me of that fabulous scene in the epic “Life of Brian” where the ‘bearded’ women stone the blasphemer, Deuteronomy of Gath.
Apologies if you were too young to enjoy that early seventies masterpiece.

Arthur Waldman
AW
Arthur Waldman
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Just a few amplifications….1) the stoning of an ox that gores a person includes that his flesh not be eaten, but his owner is not liable…. 2) Giving one’s offspring to Molech was as I was taught to be sacrificed to that idol….

Anne Poitrineau
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago

Yes, this is what I always say: extremism/terrorism are states of mind, not religions.

Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

That is a very naive and deluded view. You are in for some nasty surprises.

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago

I really very much doubt it. It is Muslims who do this – not Christians – not Buddhists – not Jains – not agnostics, or atheists – not, people who prefer to study philosophy, instead. Can you name the last religiously-motivated murder, that was committed by a Jain? Can you name the last time that a philosophy student murdered someone – on the basis of his interpretation of Immanuel Kant, or of John Stuart Mill?

This is, the Cultural Relativist argument – that also relies on the postulate, that Every Individual One of Them is Merely Coincidentally Mentally Ill. This is untruthful, and an evasion of reality. It’s hiding one’s head, in the sand.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

“people always interpret their supposed “holy writ” to mean whatever they want it to mean.”

This is true, but in traditional (rather than radical) Islam this was often done to the good. The strictness of Islam was softened, allowing all sorts of excuses and work arounds to make it less draconian.

This was quite tricky of course – you couldn’t actually contradict the word of God but had to come up with a formulation consistent with it but without the literal sting.

What we have seen more recently is a return to a more literal interpretation.

Charles Knapp
CI
Charles Knapp
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

You write that “The real solution, therefore, is for mankind to create a binary world; in which all countries are divided into two groups: those which profess Islam, those which do not”.

In fact, Islam has already done this for you by dividing the world between the House of Islam and the House of War with the former’s job on the Earth to overcome the latter so that everyone submits to the will of Allah.

Whether France – or any Western country – finds a solution that preserves their social achievements remains to be seen. One thing is clear to me and it is this: if you don’t believe that your culture or country is anything special and that it is “racist” or Orientalist (or whatever) to compare other cultures and countries unfavorably to yours, then there is little reason to teach about, let alone favor, your culture or country.

John Lennon’s lyric “you don’t know what you got until you lose it” now serves as a warning to the West.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Knapp

That tiresome quasi-rebel John Lennon may have pinched Joni Mitchel’s line:
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”
from Big Yellow Taxi.

Lennon is also falsely credited with this gem, although the credit should really go to Allen Saunders:
“Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans”

Sorry, couldn’t resist that bit of trivia.

Charles Knapp
CI
Charles Knapp
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Verily, there is nothing new under the Sun – according to the writer of Ecclesiastes and, just to save you the bother of a reply, the concept was doubtlessly taken from others whose names have been lost in the mists of time.

Kiran Grimm
NS
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Knapp

My God! Even the old testament provides us with bland generalisations.

If the author of Ecclesiastes were alive today would he be a bar-room bore spouting non-stop folksy wisdom once drink had loosened his tongue?

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Knapp

Islam, is a Religion of War. What do you mean, by “House of War”?

Charles Knapp
Charles Knapp
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph McCord

The terminology is Islam’s not mine. I translated its concept that the world is divided between “dar al Islam” and “dar al harb” – which Islam is supposedly divinely destined to overcome.

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Knapp

That’s, what they, call us?!

(I learn something new, every day… Is that psychologically-projective paranoid-aggressive accusation – that they think that we’re at war, with them? Or does it declare an intention, to make war on the whole rest of the world – just because it’s there?

It kind of has to be one or the other – if not both – right?)

————————

(That sheds some light, I guess – on why they keep propagandistically calling it “a religion of peace”…)

Charles Knapp
CI
Charles Knapp
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph McCord

Mohammed’s final words to his followers was an injunction for them to continue to fight until the entire world recognizes Allah’s supremacy. So, the choice has always been for the non-Muslim to submit or bear the consequences.

We are not at war with them so much as we are guilty of defying the will of Allah. It’s religious supercessionism on steroids, really.

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Knapp

So, what the phrase really means then, I guess – is something like, “those parts of the world where wars of conquest and forced-conversion still need to be waged”?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph McCord

“That’s, what they, call us?!”

Very brief explanation.

Islam divides the world into a realm of peace and a realm of conflict, Islam being the realm of peace. The idea is that by submitting to the will of Allah as detailed in the Quran Hadith etc. conflict can be avoided.

Indeed it is characteristic of Islam that it seeks to remove all forms of conflict, often in draconian ways.

Since the mixing of the sexes brings jealousy and conflict, for example, it seeks to segregate them either physically or through dress and behaviour codes.

Now clearly Islam has been marked by conflict right from the beginning, and the attempt to remove conflict by setting rules for all aspects of behaviour is almost doomed to failure.

But that is the idea, and it is also why, to westerners, sharia appears so intrusive and over the top.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Knapp

Spot on: this is the essence of the problem, and the challenge that Western countries seem reluctant to face or even acknowledge.

But the quote in your final paragraph is surely from Joni Mitchell, not John Lennon: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…” (Big Yellow Taxi). Valid point, however.

Geoff Cooper
GC
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

But that’s just the problem. Muslims are leaving Muslim lands, most Muslims don’t actually like living under Islam, or at least its more extreme forms. They want to come and live in the secular west, where the rule of law and human rights are. In the UK the older Muslim people are happy to be in a country where they are safe and free. It’s the young ones who were born here that become terrorists. Usually not very bright young men of poor character who are resentful about their lack of status and success. The Quran tells them that they ‘are the best of people, superior to the infidel’ yet here they are unable to effectively compete in a meritocratic society that rewards diligence, creativity, hard work, talent, honesty etc. qualities they lack in their pot smoking petty criminal lives.
Radical Islam flatters these resentful young inadequates, tells them they are brave warriors fighting for Allah and will go straight to paradise and be waited upon by beautiful virgins etc.etc.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Muslims don’t like the consequences of living under Islam (i.e., sharia law) – poverty, and endemic violence.

But, then, when they’ve escaped from it – and escaped from its consequences – they then self-righteously want to involuntarily impose the same things, on all the rest of us.

(That’s, why Muslims {all Muslims – if necessary} should be banned, from immigrating to real countries.)

JP Martin
JP Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

No, most are motivated by economic and security concerns. They flee poverty and war, travelling to countries that attract them through perverse financial incentives. And they don’t abandon their culture and adopt a new worldview at each border crossing. It is dangerously naive to imagine that we are dealing with a caravan of intellectuals embarking on some philosophical journey.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I did not say that. Of course they remain Muslim and keep their traditions, nothing wrong with that, but in the UK most of our Muslims are south Asian and tend to be against Islamism, thankfully. In France and Germany where the Muslims are Arab and/or Turkish things may be different. Certainly in France there seems to be a growing divide.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

It is not that different from France, really. A minority of determined extremists can do great damage and this is also happening in the UK and elsewhere. In France, the majority of people of North African origin are against Islamism too. They are usually the first victims of the radicals in their community and often the first to raise the alarm.

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Soberest common sense that I’ve heard, in a long time.

johnny.mardkhah
JM
johnny.mardkhah
3 years ago

Did Agnès Poirier censure herself? She didn’t specify that it’s MUSLIM pupils who won’t sit at the same table with their “infidel” classmates or who refuse to visit temples belonging to other faiths. And guess what is the religion of the Turkish students that she mentioned?

Anne Poitrineau
AP
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago

This is the things that I am really amazed at: I did not know we had that many Turks in France. My nephews and nieces (of which I have about 7) and the teachers I know do not report “Turkish enclaves”. So I am a little astonished to hear of a class where they are such a block that they would be able to put the teacher under pressure at the mention of the Armenian genocide. Moreover, the Turks I do know are Kurdish. They have no qualm about blaming the Turks for the Armenian genocide. They are in fact too ready to say “and look, they are doing it again, to us”. This story sounds odd to me.

Kevin Newman
Kevin Newman
3 years ago

Estimated to be somewhere between 1.0 million and 1.9 million Turkish or Turkish descended people in France, especially in Eastern France. The 10th arrondissement in Paris is known by some as “La Petite Turquie”

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

“Moreover, the Turks I do know are Kurdish. They have no qualm about blaming the Turks for the Armenian genocide.”

That’s a joke, The Kurds – a nomadic people who basically claim stolen Armenian land – carried out most of the butchery of the Armenians under turkish command.

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

This is mirrored in the US in the exact same fashion – someone dares to utter a malicious truth and some leftist is guaranteed to scream for the offender’s head along with the usual ad hominem of various isms. It is predictable as it is tedious, and it exposes the underbelly of the system’s failure – the lack of critical thinking to which this article alludes.

It is amazing, really, how quickly the liberal West has embraced illiberal ideas:
tolerance is being used to justify intolerance, antiracism to validate essentialism, and feminism to claim, for instance, that religious garments are a new form of freedom for women.
and what’s worse is how readily this sort of thing is accepted. It’s not just educrats; it’s far more widespread, infecting most of the institutions that undergird society.

Agag-Boudjahlat worries that too many of her colleagues are either indifferent, ignorant or even complacent.
She, or the author, left out terrified which is the most likely answer. When you see a rage mob descend on someone for rhetorical pabulum, it’s not something one aspires to experience personally.

Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

And they are right to be afraid. On the other hand, teachers tend to be leftie types in favour of mass immigration and ‘tolerant’ of culture that are incompatible with France and the West, so they cannot complain. They have brought this upon themselves.

Agnes writes:

‘Today, still, teachers are seen as playing a crucial role in French society by educating future citizens, by teaching them to reason and think critically.’

it is against all the principles and beliefs of certain groups to reason or think critically. It is simply never going to happen. We have 1,400 years of evidence for this.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I see you’re into identity politics: because of what some teachers say and do, other teachers have to accept that they are victims of violence.

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Identity politics is not a figment of Fraser’s imagination; it’s part of the left’s guiding dogma. They attack their own who dare to stray; the entire trans lobby is based on attacking people who notice biological reality. The entirety of the BLM movement was built on a fraud and anyone saying otherwise was attacked.

Tim Bartlett
TB
Tim Bartlett
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

‘White = privileged’ is the same identity political trap as ‘teachers = leftists’

nick harman
NH
nick harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

I have to say I have never met a teacher in a UK school who votes right. Or if they do, they keep quiet about it.

Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

I know one and she says there are many. But they dare not speak up in union meetings. I’ve seen this all my life but there is nothing you can do.

Anne Poitrineau
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

I know a couple too. But frankly, considering that every tory government is always waging war on the teachers, you’d seriously wonder if the majority voted right.

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Academia has brought that on itself. When 95%+ of professors self-identify as left of center, there’s no trap. And this filters down into the K-12 system.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It’s no longer ‘filtered’, it’s a deluge.

Anne Poitrineau
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If you teach the deprived, as I do, you cannot possibly side with this government.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

right wing state sector teacher is an oxymoron. even if you find one, he daren’t speak up at work, or even in public

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Teachers’ unions, might a different thing…

Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

My post is in no way indicative of ‘identity politics’. To be a teacher is not an immutable characteristic with which one is born*, nor are all teachers drawn from a particular religion or geography or whatever. My post merely reflects the fact that teachers, as agents of the state who have never, with very few exceptions, worked in the private sector, vote overwhelmingly for left-wing parties and are the playthings of very left-wing unions.

*Arguably…

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I’ve come to the conclusion, at some point along the line – that all public-sector unions, should simply be banned – made illegal.

Shouldn’t public-sector employees, be directly serving the public? Shouldn’t we have the right to weed out the dead wood – the loafers, and the incompetents – one by one, if necessary? Having a position of responsibility, in which one is supposed to be directly serving the public, and the public interest – isn’t exactly the same thing, as just manning a post on an assembly line, at a factory. There’s more involved in it, than that – and I think that the public, has a right to demand greater personal accountability (than having to constantly trip over union rules, would allow).

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The characteristics that determine a person’s ‘identity’ are not all immutable. Just look at transgender ideology. You don’t have to be born a woman to identify as a woman. Nor is anyone born a Marxist. However that is central to most Marxists’ sense of identity.

What ‘identity politics’ does do and what you did do was judge people according to the group or groups within which they can be included. Like our intersectional brothers and sisters, you do not judge people, in this case teachers, according to their own individual acts.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

‘Certain groups’ actually includes Teachers employed by the French state. They’re jobsworths promoting secularist woke.

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

One of the points of the article is to say that most teachers are still not “leftie types in favour of mass immigration and ‘tolerant’ of culture …”, and to ask for support for those who are still in the majority. So your first paragraph is not helpful.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

Coming to a town and school near you. There are plenty of equally spineless administrators and head teachers who will refuse to defend their teachers let alone their principles.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Agag-Boudjahlat is the sort of success story you would get across the board had migration been moderate, the values of the west propagated on a popular basis and the local cultures of Europe respected. Her enemies – more numerous, alas, than the likes of her – have been empowered by the hollowing out of western values by a far left elite, which teaches as many people as possible to despise European culture. It has also, by means of the mass importation of unprecedented numbers, allowed foreign cultures, with – to say the least of it – vastly distinct approaches to issues such as tolerance and emancipation – to set themselves up in ghettoes on European soil. In every way the crazed, poisonous, self-hating left has set the west on a course of decline and fall. And the cherry on the cake is the gradual asphyxiation of dissent.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago

..religion has seeped through State Education in a way that is now affecting teachers’ work and lives.

Religion?

Or Islam?

Miriam Uí
MR
Miriam Uí
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

Islamism

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

That is quite a significant cop-out, isn’t it?

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

It’s very similar in UK but without the tradition of open debate that France has. So the vast majority of teachers go along with “repressive tolerance” here. They are selected almost entirely from the silo of white, privelaged womanhood and i guess they feel guilty about this. Our eldest came home aged about 7 and asked us – did you have slaves in the olden days? That was about 1996. He was surprised to hear that Vikings came over to our islands and took slaves 1200 years ago, and that Barbary Corsairs carried off Irish peasants as recently as 200 years ago.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

My mother’s favourite saying was “what did your last slave die of”. Mind you she was born in 1920.

L Paw
LP
L Paw
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

Remember my mother uttering the exact same to me

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

In her essay “Le Grand Détournement”, which gained her the Laïcité Award in 2019, she argued that a semantic aberration was slowly undermining French democracy. Little by little, she wrote, concepts and words have been turned upside down, or “deviated” from their meaning, by relativists of all hues: tolerance is being used to justify intolerance, antiracism to validate essentialism, and feminism to claim, for instance, that religious garments are a new form of freedom for women.

Bravo, Fatiha!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Well, yes, but this ‘semantic aberration’ is rampant across the West due to the post-modernists and their various followers and incarnations. (Ironically, ‘semantic aberration strikes me as very post-modern term that somebody like Derrida might have coined).

Thus a ‘smart motorway’ is a motorway designed to kill people, ‘black lives matter’ unless the life is taken by another black person, and any organisation with the word ‘trust’ in its title is not to be trusted. There are countless such examples.

Anne Poitrineau
AP
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Black lives matter, no matter who takes it. So called “black on black violence” is often the product of ghettoism enforced by the white. This has been studied.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

No, it is the product of a demented education system that teaches nothing useful, and of a welfare system that leaves young black men without fathers. Have you signalled your virtue by going to live in one of the ghettoes?

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago

Okay… I do, understand your naïveté – and these are well-meaning sentiments (except, toward white people in the United States – in regard to whom, the sentiments are rather unkind). However, I live in the U.S. – and I can tell you that ghetto violence has nothing, whatsoever, to do with white people. It has to do, with degenerate cultures – and degenerate values.

If you find this, unconvincing – but, despite that, want to hear other points of view about – there are any number of directions, you could turn. Which would include – to any number of U.S. black conservative commentators. Your sentiments, are well-meaning – but factually, entirely wrong.

Secondly – the problem is that the organization that calls itself, “Black Lives Matter” {which – is actually, when you get right down to it – a bizarre very-fringe radical group – in terms of most of the “positions” that its leaders espouse – and, not, remotely, any kind of rational political organization, with limited rational aims} – JDGAF – about any, of those things. It wants to abolish, the police – all, police departments, ultimately – or, at the very least, to cut their budgets, and therefore to limit what they are capable of doing – not, to afford black people in this country with greater police protection from crime. Don’t buy into the propaganda – it will mislead you.

(Or, if you want to convince me – tell me – in what way, is ghettoism, as you’re putting it – “enforced by whites”?)

———————–

And, then – I also, have to append… “So-called, black on black violence”?

Like – it isn’t real, or it isn’t happening – or something? Look up, some crime statistics from the U.S. Listen, to some rap music {for that matter}.

Are invisible white people somehow secretly, pulling all of the triggers? It sounds, like a metaphysical argument – of some sort, or another. Nobody is making black people, shoot each other. As well meaning, as anybody might want to be – you still have got to get a grip, on the facts…

———————

Even, if – let’s say – there were white armed guards permanently stationed around every poorer black city neighborhood, preventing anyone from ever leaving them – that wouldn’t, somehow – just inexorably cause black people in those ghettos, to shoot each other – by some kind of social law of physics, or something – would it?

stephen f.
SF
stephen f.
3 years ago

September 11, 2001 was a clue…

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

A female teacher in the Netherlands was recently forced to go into hiding because she upset some teenage ‘New Dutch’ girls in some way. Essentially, they proposed on social media to do unto her that which was done to Mr Paty. But this is only the beginning and it hasn’t really even started yet.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Europeans need a {some equivalent of the U.S.} Second Amendment.

Peter KE
PK
Peter KE
3 years ago

May the teachers of France have courage.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter KE

What a trite and meaningless statement. As absurd as marching around saying ‘Je suis Charlie’. It’s not courage they need but stab vests and 24/7 armed protection. But that’s what happens when you allow certain people into your country.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

We do OK in our town which has a majority Muslim population. The older generation come down hard when they find extremist talk in public. These people left Pakistan because of its backward sectarian society, the last thing they want is it following them over here!

Simon Baggley
SB
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Did they come down hard on child rapists who chose their victims because of their race/religion

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Child rapists who chose victims for any reason would be advised to stay well hidden round here. There are only so many of their natural allies, the police, on duty at a given time. So their chances of reaching sanctuary would be low. For cultural reasons i think the Urdu speakers would be as brutal as the Northern Irish vigilantes with these characters. The native English speakers are by and large too soft and fearful to use direction action against rapists. This was not the case 50 years ago when the “dads” went to the pub after a long day in heavy industry so had a forum to get worked up and egg each other on.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter KE

Why don’t they just stop preaching the religion of woke to children whose parents are paying their wages and only want their children to to have a normal life?

Lydia R
LR
Lydia R
3 years ago

I’m sure this would have been published in Ms Poirier’s former employer the Guardian. Not.

nick harman
NH
nick harman
3 years ago

Oh I thought this was going to be about teachers of French,

Zut.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Allo allo you are a very naughty garçon. Write one hundred times ‘Voulez vous Charlie Hebdo avec moi ce soir’

Ian Barton
IB
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

With that last comment Fraser – it seems you may have been enjoying un peu trop de Bordeaux 🍷

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well I shared a bottle of Langoa Barton ’98 and a bottle of Roc de Cambes with a few people last Saturday, among other wines from France, Spain, Germany, Italy and NZ.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

being a “Barton” it must have undoubtedly been sophisticated .. 😉

Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It depends if you’re talking about the St Julien Bartons or the Liverpool Bartons. I refer to Joey and his brother, who is still in jail for a racist murder, I believe (and hope).

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Being a Wessex Barton myself, I claim no knowledge of my distant cousins.

eugene power
EP
eugene power
3 years ago

Compare France with the Republic in Ireland. Founded on a pact between the Bishops and the IRA , itself a motley crew of poets paedos and gangsters.
Young Irish have finally got sick of the bishops..yet they have fervently embraced the IRA gangsters their parents rejected.
Sounds familiar ?

Martin Davis
Martin Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  eugene power

SF in the Republic is a far cry from the SF under the Troubles in the North, and even there it follows the ballot box strategy, hence the occasional break-off factions creating trouble. Its popularity in the Republic is based on appealing to a younger electorate on basic issues (housing, employment, welfare) which the old duopoly of FG and FF have neglected. It still wants Reunification, though.

mike otter
MO
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Davis

True that – most nationalist in the Republic abhorr the sectarians in the north
whether green or orange.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Davis

It’s strange that people in a country that makes so much of long memories can make exceptions for Sinn Fein’s appalling recent past by saying “Yes, but that was then.”

Tom Krehbiel
TK
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  eugene power

Did their parents reject the IRA when they were younger though? I wonder.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  eugene power

You’re out of date. The IRA is over.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Karl Popper warned against tolerating the intolerant.
We have made this mistake for over 50 years. Time to change.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Oh thank you, Unherd!! My comments might stay up for a moment now. Pulling forelock.

Joseph McCord
JM
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

I think you’re kind of just polluting this space – where people want to have some reasoned discussions. Can you find a place to rant and rave, somewhere else?

jamesbrad1011
JB
jamesbrad1011
3 years ago

Western values and Islam..oil and water.nuff said

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  jamesbrad1011

It is a very very difficult matter – and as much as I like Christopher Hitchens’, for instance, approach – I have to admit that. But I think that we need to become more assertive about stating that fact.

In a much much milder – much more cautious, more painstaking about all of the internal differences, way – Sam Harris is also very good at discussing these matters.

Attempting to ignore the problems that the obvious fundamental clashes cause (Islamic terrorism within Western societies does not, just happen randomly – it’s a part of the overall picture – and that is only one of the problems created by the fundamental clash) – will not, just make them go away. It should be obvious, that bridges have to be built between fundamentally differing cultures. In this case – building the bridges will require being highly critical. Even though, it’s “a religion” (and, all sorts of more general culture matters that are associated with it – but starting with, the “religion”) that’s in question – in this case, the bridges cannot be built without the criticism. Attempting to ignore or to gloss over or to whitewash all of the problems that the clash causes, will only lead to more massacres.

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

Why cannot the author name the problem – it is not “religion”, not religion in general, but Islam. Islam is the only creed and the only ideology that’s making these demands and creating this climate of fear in France, and elsewhere in Europe.

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

I think it has to do with France’s particular specific culture and history of secularism. Secularism is strongly associated with patriotism – not, that being religious is frowned upon – but that all public institutions, including educational ones, must be rigorously secular. There are strong feelings attached to these matters. Erosion of those assumptions about institutions is a matter of significant concern.

It’s a little hard to pin down, but I think that there’s a degree of difference in regard to the specific feelings about such things. America, where I live, has the “separation of church and state” – which is a fundamental constitutional principle {although, one not explicitly written into the Constitution, as such, exactly – but, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s established interpretations of what the Constitution means} – and it’s one that’s taken very seriously. But, many Americans have also traditionally always described us as being, “a Christian country” – and that isn’t wholly and entirely wrong. Public schools can’t teach religious doctrines – but don’t see any objections to allowing students to wear religious symbols. There have been and sometimes still are controversies, around in what ways prayer is to be allowed or not allowed, in schools, or at school events. In France the matter seems to be much more clear-cut – and is directly associated with patriotism – and with loyalty to the French Republic. France is also, “a traditionally Catholic country” – but difficult struggles were fought to secularize it – to rigorously remove everything having to do with the Church from having influence over the state, and over state institutions. Patriotism is seen as directly involving loyalty, to the principle of secularism – whereas, in the United States, in contrast – it’s a matter of fundamental constitutional principles that are certainly very important, but that aren’t regarded as being fundamentally directly, unavoidably matters having to do with patriotism (loyalty to the Constitution, is – but many Constitutional principles can be questioned, or argued over as to what their exact interpretations should be – even though they ultimately, have to be obeyed). Something about a “tone of feeling”, as well as about specific customs and laws, is different – for religion of any kind, even if it weren’t Islam, to be allowed to creep into public schools – would be a cause for alarm.

(In other words in a way – it doesn’t even have to be pointed out… Secularism as a fundamental value is an essential part of how France became a modern nation, in the first place.)

———————–

The UK, in contrast, has an established church – but doesn’t impose it on anyone. The U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the creation of any established church, at the national level – but earlier on in our history, many of the separate individual states did have established churches – and this wasn’t at first seen as contradicting the Constitution. We don’t have one single educational system, but a zillion of them – under the laws of fifty different states, but even within that context, every individual school district operates independently. The majority of the funding for schools is raised through local taxes – some of it comes from the states – and none of it is federal. Until somewhat before I was born – it was still not unusual in some schools for school to be opened, with a minute or two of prayer. This was challenged in the courts, and held to be unconstitutional – but it was still a somewhat controversial matter, when I was growing up – many people objected to those court decisions. When I was a school child, in elementary school – this had been replaced with a “moment of silence”.

Something that I Iearned recently – is that at the outset of the French Revolution, the Catholic Church, itself, directly owned 10% of the land, in the entire nation. Its power, wealth and influence were truly immense – which helps to explain why in the course of the revolution, secularism was advocated so very adamantly. That’s the historical background – to why the strong emphasis on secularism is still such a patriotic and sacred value…

————————

Something that I don’t think that I’ve seen pointed out, as of yet – is that for schoolchildren to terrorize school teachers – also amounts to schoolchildren terrorizing other schoolchildren – doesn’t it?

Alex Delszsen
AD
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Your comment will show if u complain about being cancelled. But not your other comments if Unherd has cancelled you

Alex Delszsen
AD
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Well, it is different her in America, on Unherd. They aren’t scared and they let your comments show. Well, yours, but not mine.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Well it is different here in America, on Unherd, they are not scared and they let your comments show. Yours, not mine. Just the ones asking if you an see the comment.

Anne Poitrineau
Anne Poitrineau
3 years ago

It is not just Muslims. Christians from Russia, and a few other places behave in the same way: they feel duty bound to convert you because they are convinced that they are privy to this great treasure (the good news as some evangelists say) and they owe it to you to draw you to god. Some such Christian friends were amazed to hear that France or the UK were still mostly pagans in 600CE. Some of my Muslim friends struggle a little bit with their history before 700CE. Giving a culture a timeline, a zero year is a bit of propaganda, in fact, a way of negating anything of note happened before. I try to map the 5000 years BCE. Sometimes, the awareness of the vastness of the histric past, and of all the cutures which existed, with religions they were just as convinced of as today’s people are of theirs is enough to cause people to reflect. Let’s hope.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

It is strange to see your statement that Russians try to convert people in the West. They follow the Eastern Rite which is different. Poles are generally Roman Catholic and I went to school with many, there are even more now in state schools, not trying to convert anyone.
Celtic Christianity was in these islands from about the 3rd century.

Kiran Grimm
NS
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Sorry to state the obvious but “they feel duty bound to convert you” is qualitively different from “they feel that it is justifiable (even necessary) to execute you for opposing conversion and the will of God”.

Do “Christians from Russia and a few other places” really practice evangelism with such deadly force?

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago

I find it curious that you use the phrase, “drawing you to god”. Muslims don’t murder people, because they are trying to “draw them to God”. They murder people because they assume that God has condemned them to Hell, anyway – and because their “religion” states that all such people, should be killed (and that, plus – if you kill them, God gives you, yourself, special perqs, in the afterlife). Killing non-Muslims isn’t an attempt at converting, anyone (and, even if it were – would that make it any prettier?). It’s, to put it bluntly – imperialism.

———————–

It isn’t exactly, in other words – a matter of, “hear the Good News – now I’m going to cut your head off, for your own good!”. (Even if it were – would that make it any better?)

They’re not trying to convert you – they’re trying to kill you, to get you out of the way – so that they can have and control everything. Let’s be more honest, and sincere, about how we discuss these matters.