The Obin Report on French Schools
Last July, Lawrence Auster published this summary of a much longer report on the state of French schools. I have downloaded the 37-page report in French, but I feel this summary is adequate for now. Alex Alexiev is vice-president for research at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.
EUROPE’S ISLAMIST FUTURE IS NOW
Friday, July 1, 2005
The resounding rejection of the EU constitutional project in France and the Netherlands has triggered much frenzied hand-wringing and anxious bickering about the future of Europe, though it appears to tells us more about the pervasive angst of the continent’s elites than about its future.
Completely unnoticed in this noisy brouhaha is a survey in France that tells us more about what Europe’s future will look like than the collective wisdom of its chattering classes. Innocuously entitled “Signs and Manifestations of Religious Affiliation in the Educational Establishments” and headed by the inspector general of French education Jean-Pierre Obin, the study was actually finished last year but remained unpublished until leaked on the Internet a few weeks ago.
It is easy to understand why the French government was unwilling to publish it. For the survey is a devastating indictment and an anxious wake-up call at the same time.
The result of an extensive research and five months of field interviews in numerous schools in 20 French provinces by a distinguished group of educators, the Obin report documents the extensive Islamization of French schools in the vicinity of Moslem ghettoes and the imposition of strict conformity with Islamist dictates through violence and intimidation.
Having by and large completed their takeover of the Moslem ghettoes, often by “targeted violence” against non-Moslems and moderate Moslems alike, the Islamist fanatics are making great progress towards achieving control of the educational system as well.
As usual, girls are the first victims of religious extremism. The “big brothers,” as the Islamists are known in school, enforce a strict Islamic dress code which prohibits make-up, dresses and skirts, forbid any co-educational activities and make going to the movies, the swimming pool or the gym all but impossible for Moslem girls.
The punishment for refusal to conform is often physical violence and beatings. And this, says the report, is a relatively protected environment compared to “what girls experience outside of school.” Such as forced marriages at 14 or 15.
No less disturbing is the picture Obin paints of the spread of the kind of religious obscurantism that one associates with Wahhabi zealots, but would find difficult to envisage in a public school in the heart of Western Europe.
Moslem students often refuse to study Voltaire or read Madame Bovary, acknowledge even the existence of other religions, or sing, dance, draw faces or right angles because they resemble the cross. English, on the other hand, is hated as the “language of imperialism.”
Increasingly, the radical Islamists are able to secure special, often preferential, treatment for Moslem students making a mockery of French secular traditions. In some schools, Moslems already have the right to eat at separate tables, have their own toilets off limits to the infidels, be served only halal (Islam’s kosher) food and practice mass absenteeism during Moslem holidays.
In addition to the routine expression of violent anti-Semitic sentiments, schools have also become a major focus of aggressive proselytism. The report states that it is virtually impossible for non-practicing Moslem kids in school not to conform to the strict Islamist behavior prescriptions. Even non-Moslems are often forced to take part in Ramadan fasting, against the wishes of their parents.
Perhaps most troubling is the study’s finding that this new generation of Moslem children, born and raised in Europe, is growing up already indoctrinated to consider themselves part of a “Moslem nation” separate and opposed to everything Western civilization stands for.
Whether it is their obscurantist worldview, their anti-democratic and violent tendencies or wide-spread admiration for Osama Bin Laden and assorted terrorists, this is a generation that is clearly on a collision course with democratic society.
Faced with this wholesale assault on basic democratic values and secularism, the educational establishment appears powerless and immobilized. It admits that Jewish kids can no longer be schooled without being subject to constant racist and anti-Semitic harassment and cannot protect the freedom of spiritual choice of minor children, but does not know what to do. Instead, it engages in self-censorship and tolerates and appeases violent intolerance.
And this is not just France’s problem. The same phenomenon of large numbers of angry young Moslems who totally reject European civilization is easily observable in virtually every large urban center across the EU.
Moreover, the future is on their side. With fertility rates twice those of the native Europeans and large-scale legal and illegal immigration, Europe’s Moslem population is growing by leaps and bounds. Though only 4 to 5% of the general population, Moslems already make up 25% to 30% of the under 18 cohort in large cities.
On present demographic trajectory, they will become a majority of that cohort in the metropolitan areas where they are concentrated in 30 years or less. If they were to resemble the students described in the Obin Report at all, it would be difficult to imagine Europe remaining secular and democratic for long.