A “shocking” request. After the revelations of The Midi Dispatch on the request of the police to the heads of schools in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) to tell them the number of absent students the day of Eid al-Fitr, SOS Racisme expressed its indignation. In a press release published this Sunday, the ociation denounces “a dubious amalgam and manifestly based on anti-Muslim prejudices” and requests explanations from the Ministry of the Interior.
As a reminder, secondary school principals and principals received an email dated April 26 from the Departmental Directorate of Public Security (DDSP) of Haute-Garonne asking them, “at the request of intelligence services”, in order to “know the percentage of absenteeism on Friday, April 21, 2023, during the Eid holiday”, which marks the end of Ramadan.
This request was also made without the approval of the rectorate of Toulouse. The rector would have given the instruction “not to answer it” when he was informed.
The “alarming” silence of the Ministry of the Interior
SOS Racisme is indignant at a request which “ociates Muslim religious practice with a question of security or internal intelligence”. According to the ociation, several “essential principles” have thus been broken: that of secularism “which imposes neutrality on the State”, that of equality since “fortunately, no request of this type has ever been made for other religious groups”, and that of legality because the absence of pupils during religious holidays including Eid-el-Fitr “is explicitly provided for by law, by virtue of a circular dating from 2004”.
SOS Racisme welcomes the reaction of National Education staff “who did not grant this request from the police”. Nevertheless, she “is alarmed by the behavior of the Ministry of the Interior, which has remained silent in the face of an obvious dysfunction of one of its services”.
This is why it asks the Ministry of the Interior “to establish the reasons which may have led officials of the DDSP of Haute-Garonne to make such a request”. For Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, “if there is a ‘Muslim problem’ in the minds of a few civil servants, it is the responsibility of the ministers on whom they depend to concern themselves with it and to do everything possible to ensure that this inclination is combated”.
Jean-Christophe Cambadélis challenges Gérald Darmanin
These revelations provoked the anger of the educational community, but they also provoked reactions from the side of the political cl. This Sunday, on Radio J, the former first secretary of the Socialist Party, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, asked that the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin “shed light” on this affair. “It’s nonsense there frankly. We are in an incredible situation”.
According to a source familiar with the matter, “it is a clumsiness”. “The territorial intelligence services went through referent police officers from the National Education, their message was poorly formulated, but to ask for an absenteeism rate, it’s not filing nor personal data, ”said this source.
This territorial intelligence work is part of a context of “renewedattacks on secularism in schools “during the Ramadan period, according to this same source, with for example” challenges for social networks to film themselves with a veil “or refusals to participate in singing and music lessons.