A French council sent cops twice to an elementary school to dissent about its choice to offer optional Arabic classes to its students.
“Deputy mayor of Six-Four-Les-Plages had confirmed that officers were sent to the Reynier primary school twice in November to inform school officials of the mayor’s opposition to the lessons,” said a Local news outlet La Chaine Info (LCI)
“Officials were concerned that the class, which was being held outside school hours, was not agreed to by the local council in the Var district of southern France,” Jean-Sebastien Vialatte told LCI.
Incident came to light on Wednesday after a French lawyer shared court documents exposing a failed legal suit by the council to halt the classes.
In September, an image shared on social media by a parent of one of the children at the school falsely claimed the classes were mandatory, prompting outrage in France.
France has banned the wearing of headscarves by Muslim children in schools and the wearing of full face veils in public.
Some schools have also removed options for pork-free school dinners that Muslim pupils usually opt for.
The French government claims to have taken steps to maintain the secularism of the country.
French Muslim activist Yasser Louati said the incident in Six-Four-Les-Plages reflected a “normalisation of state sponsored racism”.
“Sending the police to make sure an Arabic class isn’t held shows how much hate government institutions can express for Arabs,” Louati said.
“In 2015 we had cases of primary school children being humiliated, assaulted, and even taken to the police by their teachers .
“Then we had schoolgirls being barred from school for wearing a long skirt or the prohibition of substitute meals for Muslims and Jews.”
Louati said senior officials had done little to address the problem and had often acted to encourage such views, referring to government minister Laurence Rossignol’s comments last year, where she compared Muslim women who wore the hijab to “American negroes” who supported slavery.
“The only solution for French Muslims and any citizen who loves justice and equality is to band together and engage in a power struggle with decision-makers,” he added.
“The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections are an opportunity … nobody benefits from a society built on hate.”