One year on from the survey he conducted for our monthly Screen Watch (Observatory of teachers faced with the expression of religious beliefs in schools, October 2022), in which the issues surrounding the wearing of the Abaya and the Qamis in schools were probed for the first time, François Kraus, director of Ifop’s Politics / News division, conducted a large-scale survey (representative national sample of 2,145 people aged 18 and over) for our Charlie Hebdo colleagues, following the ban on these outfits in state schools.
In this interview, he discusses the main findings of this two-part study: a survey carried out on 30 and 31 August and documentary research on the religious nature of the Abaya and Qamis and the way in which these outfits are presented to French buyers by the retailers and brands that sell them.
The decision by the French new Minister of National Education, Gabriel Attal, to ban the wearing of the ‘Abaya’ (and its male equivalent, the ‘Qamis’) in schools has sparked a heated controversy. Several voices, especially from the left, have risen to denounce the establishment of a “clothing police” and La France Insoumise (LFI) has announced its intention to challenge this decision in the Council of State. However, the ban on Abayas and Qamis is not a subject of much debate within the teaching profession, as shown by a survey conducted by IFOP for our monthly magazine “Screen Watch” last November.
On 11 September 2001, journalist Carine Azzopardi was covering the attacks in New York, where she happened to be. On 13 November 2015, her partner and father of their children, music journalist Guillaume Barreau-Decherf, 43, was murdered at the Bataclan. In her book “Ces petits renoncements qui tuent” (Plon), Carine Azzopardi gives the – anonymous – testimony of a French teacher, confronted on a daily basis with the vindictive Islamism of some of his pupils. He refuses to give up and remains hopeful.
Rejection of secularism, denial of science and conspiracy… Teachers in the national education system find themselves confronted with a challenge not only to the republican model, but also to the Enlightenment, against a backdrop of a general decline in the level of students. Understaffed, teachers do not feel supported by their superiors, who seem to be out of touch with reality.
Two years after the beheading of Samuel Paty, our survey of teachers shows that fear has not changed sides at all. Attacks on secularism are on the rise to such an extent that more than half of the teachers censor themselves to avoid causing “incidents”…
It represents a very small card in the jungle of administrative recommendations issued in France on the occasion of deconfinement, but it is a huge step in the fight against communitarianism. This three-page document issued by the Ministry of National Education, under the title of “Coronavirus and the risk of communitarian withdrawal”, is at once unprecedentedly clear-sighted on the complexity of the “spectrum of radical ideas of communitarianism”, on the “techniques and ways of proceeding” of the various “radical groups” carrying out “anti-democratic and anti-republican” projects and on the “conduct to be adopted” to thwart the “separatist” aims of such groups, whether they are “communitarian, authoritarian or unequal”.