Life Style

Religion, increasingly influential in high school



These little renunciations that kill

by Carine Azzopardi & The Witness

Dish, 18 €

French Youth, School and the Republic

by Iannis Roder

The Observatory, 19 €

They respectively teach French and history-geography in high school, in the suburbs of Paris. The first has chosen a pseudonym, Laurent Valogne, and defines himself as “the anonymous who does not give up”. The second, Iannis Roder, who signs with his real name, had already made himself known as one of the editors of the book The Lost Territories of the Republic. Both have published a book this fall to warn of the growing influence of a certain vision of Islam on the daily life of their establishments.

In his book, co-authored with Carine Azzopardi, a TV journalist who lost his companion in the attack on the Bataclan, Laurent Valogne denounces what he calls the “little renunciations that kill”. This formula, propelled as the title of his book, refers to the assassination of Samuel Paty. “For some students, Islam has become the alpha and the omega which must take precedence over everything else, including learning”, assures the professor. Disputes of certain teachings, rise in force of the abaya (long dress with integrated veil, “Saudi Arabia”), recourse to self-censorship among teachers… The author goes further by denouncing the activism of some of the teachers, sensitive to the theses of the indigenous movement and quick to see in the principles of secularism a tool of oppression.

Inability to think of oneself outside of one’s religious affiliation

Iannis Roder’s book is both less personal, less rooted in everyday life, and more reflective, nourished by research and opinion polls. Its angle of attack is broader since the teacher analyzes the failure of the school in one of its missions, “the building of young Republicans, aware of democratic issues”. But this work joins that of Laurent Valogne as regards the observation of a “reinvestment of the religious” within a part of the youth of the suburbs. “A minority thus espouses a religious vision of the absolutist type”writes Iannis Roder, that of a religion supposed to hold absolute truth.

This belief, this practice, this inability sometimes to think of oneself outside of one’s religious affiliation, inevitably clash with the rational conceptions promoted by the school of the Republic. Going beyond the stage of observation, Iannis Roder lists the efforts to be made, the adaptations to be made, to rebuild the school institution, and bring back into the national community young people who, too often, consider themselves excluded from it.

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