Sunday, May 22

Secularism: interministerial committee and attacks in national education on the menu

An interministerial committee of secularism (CIL) is held in Matignon Thursday in favor of the day “of secularism” to specify several provisions of the law against “separatism”, while the National Education notes a slight increase in attacks to this principle.

Jean Castex brings together in Matignon in the afternoon a dozen ministers for this second CIL which must, like the first on July 15, set in motion the various administrations after the adoption and promulgation, in August, of the ” law strengthening respect for the principles of the Republic “, said against” separatism “.

This law contains a battery of measures relating to the neutrality of the public service, the fight against online hatred, the supervision of family education, the reinforced control of associations, the transparency of religions and their funding.

This Thursday will be presented to the CIL for approval a new version of the charter of “secularism in public services”, a text which sets out the rights and duties of officials and users of administrations.

This document, which provides in particular that any agent has a duty of strict “neutrality” with regard to his religious convictions, has been “clarified”.

It applies “to the whole public and parapublic sphere” (Caf, Pôle Emploi …) but also “to the delegated companies of public service (transport in particular)”, notes the entourage of Marlène Schiappa, the minister delegated to Citizenship in charge of secular issues.

The charter recalls the possibility of “disciplinary proceedings” for an agent in the event of a breach.

It also says that a user who challenges a public official or requires an adaptation of the functioning of the public service on the basis of religious considerations is exposed to “criminal sanctions”, in the most serious cases.

Also on the agenda, several measures of the law against “separatism”, which must be specified and approved, before their publication in the form of a decree by the end of the year.

This is the case with “deferred secularism”, which allows prefects to appeal to the administrative judge in the face of an act of a local authority that they consider contrary to the principles of secularism, for example if a mayor intends to establish different schedules according to the kinds in swimming pools.

“We should not arrive at demonstrations of proselytism through sport” which “should not be the gateway for fundamentalists”, commented Thursday the Minister of National Education and Sports, Jean-Michel Blanquer.

– “National day” –

A draft decree will also be examined establishing “secularism referents”, dedicated to supporting the training of agents from 2022 and responding to any problems that may be encountered.

Moreover, while the law has made the training of all civil servants (State, territorial, hospital) compulsory in the principles of secularism by 2025, the government is currently working to define its content.

“This could be done in two stages: a theoretical training, one to three days; then an operational component adapted to each public service or company”, underlined Ms. Schiappa.

According to her, compulsory training will be introduced in public service schools at the end of this year and each new entrant (including contract workers) trained in mid-2022.

For its part, the Ministry of National Education noted that attacks on secularism at school – ranging from wearing signs or clothing with religious connotations to verbal provocations – have increased slightly since the start of the school year, with 614 cases. recorded between September and the end of November, against 547 between December 2020 and March 2021.

Of these 614 facts, “219 relate to incidents recorded during the tributes paid to Samuel Paty (assassinated for showing caricatures of Muhammad to his students) a month ago”.

According to the ministry, the facts “happen to 51% in colleges (…) around the clothing issues of wearing the veil or very long skirts”. The wearing of signs or clothing with religious connotations within the confines of schools has been prohibited since a law of 2004.

The law against “separatism” institutionalized a “national day of secularism” on December 9, the anniversary of the 1905 law of separation of churches and state.


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