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France: Most high school students reject the secular model

Is the French conception of secularism numbered? This is at least what an unprecedented poll published this Wednesday reveals. In secondary schools the majority are those who oppose the right to criticize religion or see with good eyes the presence of religious symbols in the classrooms, a position in contradiction with the rest of the French population.

The Ifop pollster's study for the magazine Le droit de vivre and the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) exposes a generational divide in French society. More than one in two high school students (52%) is in favor of wearing visible religious symbols in schools, twice as much as the general population (25%).

Other data that emerges from the study carried out in January: 49% do not see any problem in public officials showing their religious beliefs. And 38% are in favor of a law allowing students to wear the "burkini" (a proportion that is 76% among high school students who declare themselves Muslim).

More significantly, especially after the beheading of Professor Samuel Paty for showing Muhammad cartoons, 52% of secondary school students oppose the "right to criticize a religious belief, symbol or dogma." In other words, they oppose to the right of blasphemy, a crime that does not exist in France.

This opinion is particularly popular among young Muslims, who say 78% are against the right to disparage a religion. This opinion is in the minority (45%) among those who identify themselves as Catholic or “without religion” (47%).

Significant detail of the study, the setback in condemning the killing of journalists from the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015. Although the proportion of high school students who do not strongly condemn these attacks remains a minority (16%), their number seems to have increased compared to a 2016 survey that stood at 7% among all 15-17 year olds.

Triumph of the Anglo-Saxon model?
"It no longer distinguishes the ideological corpus of the person who believes in it," says the director of the "Politics / News" unit of Ifop, François Kraus, author of the survey, in statements to Le Point. "This is the victory of an Anglo-Saxon or even Islamist vision of things. Religion is no longer perceived as a corpus of values ​​in which we believe, but as an inherent part of identity. And as the mockery of identity is perceived for some as intolerable, the violent reactions are no longer incomprehensible ”.

"The survey reveals a double fracture: on the one hand, between young people and the rest of the French, and on the other, between young Muslims or representatives of ethnic minorities and the rest of the youth, who are tolerant but not it is in a strong claim line ", points out François Krauss.

Source: rfi
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