According to several surveys, a significant number of our young fellow citizens of the Muslim faith, in particular those educated in priority areas of city policy, have moved away from the republican principles that are the basis of our living together. Indeed, many of them, on different subjects, first refer to their religious universe rather than to the teachings which are given to them by the public school.
A yawning gap is therefore growing between the family and community culture of these students and a universalist school culture seeking to provide them, like other children, with the knowledge and republican values of emancipation which are the basis of our democratic society. To bridge this gap, specific educational measures must be developed for these young people, knowing however that, for most of them, any “traditional”, vertical pedagogy, which goes from the teacher to the pupil, no longer works. “Teachings” on republican values and secularism which would thus be dispensed to them would therefore be totally ineffective if they are not adapted as certain teachers are already experiencing.
Despite everything, according to numerous testimonies, these young people who worry us, remain asking, at school or elsewhere, for moments of meeting and exchange on many subjects of society, in connection with what they are experiencing in the world. daily, including all those relating to “religions”.
Time for free expression
It therefore seems absolutely essential to us to respond to their aspirations on this level by organizing, with them, specific times of free expression and exchanges, knowing that their words, inevitably, will come head-to-head with our republican universalist values. However, we must accept to hear their resentment towards “our democratic society” which speaks to them of equality and justice while they themselves consider themselves to be victims of police violence and ethnic discrimination.
We must organize and multiply the opportunities for dialogue to help these young people to mature, to move forward and to evolve, by arousing in them questions and doubts in order to break down the barrier they secretly raise between their deep convictions which, for many, are nourished. of “the Islam of the neighborhoods”, and the principles and values that the school wants to transmit to them. We must help them to get out of their confinement in a unilateral representation of the world by making them discover other beliefs, convictions and affiliations, religious or not, than their own.
The meaning of life
Like others, young people in the neighborhoods are asking questions about the meaning of their life, wondering about their place in our society because of the specific family histories that weigh on the construction of their identity. Most of them, although legally French, too often feel that they can only become, at best, French people apart. Often from postcolonial Maghreb and sub-Saharan African immigrations, but also, more and more, from extra-European cultures even more distant from French culture, they too easily take refuge in an idealized Islam hostile to Western values.
Engaging in such an uncompromising dialogue with these young people can obviously be initiated by motivated teachers in the usual school environment, but it should also be possible to develop it in a more open framework allowing them to talk more specifically about their living conditions in the classroom. city and subjects of concern to them.
A network of animators
The government will not be able to fight the separatism of young people lacking benchmarks through provisions mainly of a security order, which is provided for in the current bill confirming respect for the principles of the Republic. This is why we ask the associations concerned and the public authorities to study the creation of a network of personal and civic life leaders to supplement the work of teachers and the various stakeholders already present within the educational institution. This network of animators, who would not be directly dependent on the State, could find its place among the volunteers of the citizen reserve of National Education launched in 2015 and those of the civic reserve created in January. 2017.
→ DOSSIER. Islam, why is it complicated
As a first step, the constitution of such a network could be undertaken on an experimental basis within the framework of the national program of “Educational cities”, in connection with the establishments and services relating to the protection of the Child (childhood of danger). and the judicial protection of young people (juvenile delinquents). It is at this level that the essential preliminary work of defining the missions of these facilitators, the methods of their recruitment and their training, their follow-up, etc. could be carried out. before being subsequently generalized to all pupils enrolled in priority areas of the city.