Muslim teacher quits French Muslim school citing anti-Semitism, radicalism


(JTA) — A Muslim teacher said he resigned from a French private high school for Muslims because of rampant anti-Semitism and radicalism among his students.

Soufiane Zitouni, a former philosophy teacher at the Averroes high school in Lille, in northern France, revealed his reasons for quitting five months after starting there in a letter he sent to Liberation that the French daily published on Friday.

One pupil, he wrote, “one day had the nerve to tell me: ‘The Jewish race is cursed by Allah, many Muslims sages told me so.’” Zitouni wrote that anti-Semitic views were commonly expressed by other students as well, and that the faculty resented his criticisms against radical Islam.

The school’s administration, for its part, told the local edition of the France 3 public television channel that they intended to sue Zitouni for libel.

Zitouni’s troubles with the faculty, he wrote, began after he published an Op-Ed in Liberation directly after the Jan. 7 slaying by Islamists of 12 people at the Paris office of the Charlie Hebdo weekly for its lampooning of Islam and its prophet, Muhammad. Zitouni’s colleagues criticized him for writing “Today, the Prophet is Charlie, too” in protest of the murders.

Several of Zitouni’s pupils told him that the journalists at Charlie Hebdo “had it coming,” he wrote in his letter.

Recommended from JTA