after the legal setback, lawyers denounce “an unacceptable decision”

after the legal setback, lawyers denounce “an unacceptable decision”

A first legal setback for the Averroès high school. The administrative court of Lille confirmed, Monday February 12, in summary proceedings, the decision of the prefect of the North, who had decided on December 7, 2023 to terminate the contract which linked the Averroès high school, one of the only two private Muslim high schools in France , with the State. The court, sending the case back to the merits, rejected the high school’s request, which called for the emergency suspension of this decision.

“This is a decision that we consider unacceptable”reacted to The cross one of the lawyers of the Averroès association, Me Paul Jablonski. “She only repeats the arguments of the prefecturehe believes. We do not understand it and we are going to challenge it before the Council of State. »

Two serious breaches

During the hearing at the Lille administrative court on January 24, the prefecture accused the high school, open for twenty years and regularly ranked among the best in the academy, of having provided teaching “contrary to the values ​​of the Republic”. The prefect delegate for defense and security of the Northern department, Louis-Xavier Thirode, also considered that the establishment was “very linked to the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the UOIF”.

To justify its upholding of the prefect’s decision, the court considers that the high school committed two “serious breaches”. First, he argues that, in January 2022, an academy inspector had requested several documents on the establishment’s documentation and information center (CDI), “which were not transmitted to him”, the judge’s order states. Furthermore, the inspection visit that followed “did not allow the inspector to access the constitution of the CDI documentary collection”, he says. The judge also relies on the fact that, on June 27, 2022, the head of the establishment refused access to the buildings to academy inspectors who had presented themselves unexpectedly at the Averroès high school to inspect this same CDI .

Opposite, the association’s lawyer contests the refusal to transmit the elements of January 2022: “There was never a written request”he insists. “The CDI has been inspected on several occasions, and in the various reports, it is noted that it demonstrates cultural pluralism and that it is adapted”he adds.

As for the June 2022 inspection refusal, “this is an incident that we greatly regret”recognizes the lawyer. “It was the work of a former head of establishment who suffered burnout that day: he received the security commission the same day,” he said, referring to the fact that this head of establishment has since been replaced. “Assuming that this is a serious breachcontinues the lawyer, Is it a fault of the school or simply of the former head of school who made a mistake? »

“Excessive harm to the general interest”

Regarding the second serious breach, the judge mentions the control of the regional chamber of accounts dated April 2023, which affirms that a book, Commentary on the forty hadiths of Imam An-Nawawi, “is studied” as part of the Muslim ethics course in second grade. However, in this work precepts are set out such as the death penalty in the event of apostasy, the prohibition for a sick woman to be examined by a man or the commandment to avoid diversity in the workplace. This work “also emphasizes the preeminence of divine law over all other structures”, indicates the order. Despite the fact that the defense claims that this work was never made available to students, the judge considered that it was “sufficiently established that the Muslim ethics courses taught in high school were essentially based” on this book, which “includes assessments contrary to the values ​​of the Republic. »

The lawyer repeats that “this book is not studied by students” : “We produced a lot of testimonials from former students and parents who told us they had no idea about this book”, he emphasizes. Me Paul Jablonski, however, regrets that “the court considered that these certificates were not serious evidence while, on the other hand, the prefecture and the regional court of accounts (…) never demonstrate that this book would have been studied by the students.”

However, the court considered that “maintaining the application of the association contract until the examination of the merits of the Averroès association would cause excessive harm to the general interest”.

It is difficult today to analyze the court’s judgment on the Averroès high school by comparing it with previous cases. In fact, for public law professor Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez, “it is very difficult to place this judgment in a more general framework, in particular because there are very few disputes over the termination of contracts in private education.”

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