Non-compliance with school programs, attacks on the values of the Republic, creation of an illegal file containing the identities of people who inspected the establishment… The Hauts-de-France prefecture justifies the termination of the “association contract linking the Averroès high school to the State” by a series of “serious breaches”, writes prefect Georges-François Leclerc in a letter addressed to the president of the high school management association on December 7. It is based in particular on the results of an investigation by the regional chamber of accounts (CRC) in 2022, widely contested by the representatives of Averroès. They have already announced that they will take legal action, and denounce the “announced chronicle of a termination which was already decided”.
The prefect first points out a series of problems with pedagogy, and in particular the books available at the documentation and information center (CDI). The works available for consultation would be “aging” and would ignore many social issues, including “relations between the sexes and homosexuality”, he notes. Then, religious books would all be devoted to Islam, “which is profoundly unbalanced and therefore incompatible with the obligation to provide education with respect for all beliefs”. Finally, and above all, he points to the presence of a book by imam Hassan Iquioussen, since expelled for supposed links with radical Islamism.
All indoctrination must be excluded
All these elements, considers the prefect, question the obligation of neutrality which is imposed on any establishment under contract, he recalls: “If the specific doctrine of private education allows it to refer in its educational project to specific religious or philosophical values, it remains that the establishment under contract is subject, in the provision of education, to the same neutrality as public establishments. Any indoctrination, or any philosophical or religious pressure is excluded. »
The Muslim ethics course would, in this respect, be the most problematic. If its existence does not pose a problem in itself and relates to the “specific character” of the establishment, that is to say its religious character, specifies the prefect, the content of the message addressed to the students would reveal “the defense within the establishment of a doctrine directly contrary to the values of the Republic”. The lessons are “founded in particular” on the work Forty hadiths, of Imam An-Nawawi, “studied in progress”, he emphasizes. Gold, “with regard to equality between the sexes, this work states, for example, the prohibition for a sick woman to be examined by a man when a woman can carry out this act. (…) Apostasy is prohibited under penalty of death. (…). Divine laws are presented as preeminent. »
“A form of intimidation”
The suspicion would be further fueled by the presence of “certain members of the supervisory and educational community”like Sofiane Meziani, signatory in 2016 of an article entitled Put an end to French democracy or even Mohamed Karrat, president of the Islamic center of Villeneuve-d’Asq, placed under judicial supervision for suspicion of financial delinquency.
The last element put forward by the prefect, the existence of an – illegal – file of the names and addresses of the various inspectors who intervened in the high school. “I consider that this practice (…) resembles a form of intimidation,” scathes Georges-François Leclerc.
These accusations are entirely contested by representatives of the establishment, who recall that a general inspection of national education in 2020 had conversely given them satisfaction. They see it as yet another episode in the long standoff engaged with the region, in which they have always won their cases in court. “The Averroès high school is today the target of multiple comments and rumors, unfortunately relayed by the public authorities, totally defamatory and misleading, which aim to obscure the reality of a republican, Muslim high school of excellence, and moreover the most controlled from France”, they denounce in a press release.