France: Because a teacher at a Catholic school doubts that his school is the right place for Muslims, he now has to fear for his life

Complaint against complaint. A teacher at the Joseph Wresinski Catholic high school in Angers (Maine-et-Loire) was provisionally suspended for allegedly religiously insulting a first grade student.

The events date back to December 1. On that day, a discussion took place in class and, according to the pupil’s testimony published in the newspaper Le Courrier de l’Ouest, the teacher stated that “Catholic institutions should have continued to teach only pupils of Catholic denomination”. A pupil allegedly replied that this type of school was not reserved for Catholics only, pointing at a Muslim pupil.

According to the student’s complaint, the teacher responded by pointing at him, “That’s the problem”, adding that he could “change his religion” at any time. This caused resentment among the students present in the class. The alleged victim of the insults left the room, jostled the teacher and shouted “racist”, reports Le Courrier de l’Ouest.

In parallel to the student’s complaint, the teacher has also filed a complaint for “violence against a person entrusted with a public task”, according to the prosecutor. He is said to have justified his remarks by saying that it was a ” secondary matter “.

The teacher, contacted by the local daily, explained that he had indeed “asked Muslims to join us and become Catholic” and admitted that what he described as joking “did not go down well with the class”. This man, who according to Le Courrier de l’Ouest is known for his involvement “from the centre to the extreme right”, claimed that this was the first time in 27 years that he had been “confronted with such a situation”. He also asserted that he had offered to speak to the parents and the student, but they had turned him down.While the investigation has “just begun” according to the prosecutor’s office, the teacher was suspended as a precaution “to preserve the integrity of the teacher, who must fear for his life, to preserve the presumption of innocence and to support the investigation”, as the headmaster explained. For his part, the teacher told the local daily that he feared retaliation. “I don’t want to become the new Samuel Paty,” he commented.

Le Parisien

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