by Bruce Bawer

After last week’s killing of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school[1] in Toulouse, early reports suggested that the murderer was a white, right-wing racist who was targeting minorities. Indeed, one could be excused for getting the impression, from those first accounts, that the authorities and the media wanted him to be a white, right-wing racist – a lone maniac like the guy who mowed down dozens of teenagers in Norway last July. Yet the Toulouse terrorist turned out, like so many perpetrators of unspeakable European atrocities in recent years, to be an Islamic jihadist – a self-declared Mujahideen and member of al-Qaeda who said he was out to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and the military involvement of France in the Islamic world, and who, if a van had not blocked the path of his scooter, might have succeeded in executing as many young people as Anders Behring Breivik did on the island of Utøya.

If at first many highly placed Frenchmen were eager to attribute the Toulouse murders to right-wing racism, the revelation of Mohamed Merah’s identity initiated a rush to dismiss the relevance of the killer’s religion and his openly expressed motivations and associations. Nicolas Sarkozy, who was quick to meet[2] with Jewish and Muslim leaders at the Elysée Palace, was equally quick to tell[3] the French people that “our Muslim counterparts have nothing to do with the crazy motivations of a terrorist.” Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, declared that “what happened in Toulouse…had nothing to do with Islam.” And in Le Monde, Jean-Yves Camus, an “expert” on radical Islam and the extreme right, insisted[4] that in determining the root cause of the murders, “the impact of the re-Islamization of French Muslims by the conservative currents, that is to say fundamentalists, is less important than the unleashing of a radical anti-Zionism that has gone too far and that does not emanate from our own Muslim compatriots, far from it.”

It is certainly true that “radical anti-Zionism” – not to mention vicious anti-Semitism – is on the rise throughout Western Europe. But it is also true that before the current wave of Jew-hate really took off, a deep-seated antagonism for Jews was already endemic among Muslims in France.

People across France were supposedly shocked at the massacre, shocked to discover that Jewish schoolchildren in their own country could be murdered in such a fashion. I don’t know what to make of those declarations of shock. The fact is that Jewish schoolchildren in France have been in danger for years, and anyone who cares anything about the subject has known this for years.

Two words: Obin report. Several years ago, the French Ministry of Education appointed a team led by one Jean-Pierre Obin to investigate the impact of Islam on the country’s schools. Obin and his colleagues traveled to sixty-one schools around France, observed student life, interviewed school employees ranging from the principal to the cook in the cafeteria, and produced a report entitled “The Signs and Manifestations of Religious Affiliation in Educational Establishments.” Their conclusions were so sensational that the ministry, instead of releasing the report to the public, shelved it. Fortunately, there exists such a thing as the Internet, and in March 2005, the report – dated July of the previous year – was leaked online. It is now available[5] at the ministry’s own website.

Every one of the 18,000 words in the Obin report is worth reading. And sobering reading it is. As I observed in my 2006 book While Europe Slept.[6]

The report was in large part a catalog of refusals: increasingly, Muslim students were refusing to sing, dance, participate in sports, draw a face, or play an instrument….They refused to eat school cafeteria food that isn’t halal (that is, prepared according to sharia law) and refused to draw a right angle in math class because it looks like part of the Christian cross. They refused to swim because they didn’t want to be polluted by “infidels’ water.” They refused to read Enlightenment authors such as Voltaire and Rousseau because they’re antireligion, Cyrano de Bergerac because it’s too racy, Madame Bovary because it promotes women’s rights, and Chrétien de Troyes because it’s, well, chrétien. They refused to accept basic facts of Christian and Jewish history and they rejected outright the existence of pre-Islamic religions in Egypt.

Many Muslim students refused, quite simply, to identify themselves as French: when told that they were French, they said that this was impossible – they were Muslims! They explicitly rejected laïcité (the concept of public secularism that is at the very heart of modern French society), calling it anti-religious. Indeed, they rejected Western values tout court. And they had deliberately disrupted moments of silence for the victims of 9/11 and of the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, many of them openly expressing admiration for Osama bin Laden.

But perhaps the most sobering revelations contained in the Obin report concerned the attitudes of Muslim students toward Jews, and the effect of this on their Jewish classmates. In history classes, Muslim students objected to anything having to do with Judaism. Holocaust denial was common. And of course the entire history of the Middle East, especially the Israeli-Palestine question, was a minefield. Aside from a “routine” use in schools of the words Jew and fuij (kike) as insults, Obin and his colleagues reported an increase in threats and assaults directed “by students of North African origin” against classmates known or suspected to be Jewish. “In the testimonies we collected, events in the Middle East as well as a chapter of the Quran are frequently cited by students to justify their words and aggression.” Muslim kids spoke positively about the persecution and extermination of Jews; praise of Nazism and Hitler was “not unusual”; anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas, abounded.

As a result, in some cities, Jewish students were separated from their classmates and transported to and from school together for their own safety. In many cases, at the request of Jewish parents, only the school principal was informed of their children’s Jewish identity, which was concealed from teachers and other students – although, as Obin and his team noted, “the surnames of students do not always allow” for such concealment. (Seen Au revoir les enfants[7] lately?) In drawing their conclusion about the effect of all this on Jewish students, Obin and company did not mince words. I will first quote from the original French: “Il est en effet, sous nos yeux, une stupéfiante et cruelle réalité : en France les enfants juifs – et ils sont les seuls dans ce cas – ne peuvent plus de nos jours être scolarisés dans n’importe quel établissement.” In other words: “It is, in effect, in our view, a stupefying and cruel reality: in France, Jewish children – and this statement applies only to them – can today no longer be educated at any institution.”

That was in 2004. I have no illusion that the situation for Jewish children in France has improved in the slightest since that report was written – on the contrary, I am sure that things have only gotten worse. I imagine that this is at least part of the reason why some Jewish parents send their children to Jewish schools such as the one in Toulouse: presumably they think their children are safer there than they are in public schools. Perhaps the parents of at least one of the children slain in Toulouse enrolled their child in that school for precisely that reason. But this massacre, carried out by a young man (aged 23) who was himself presumably only a few years out of the classroom, only confirms that Obin was absolutely correct: there is no school in France – not even a Jewish school! – where Jewish children are safe from the pernicious evil of Muslim Jew-hatred. It also underscores the fact that, in all the years since Obin sounded the alarm, nothing significant has been done by French authorities to address the atrocious state of affairs he on which Obin and his co-workers so boldly pulled back the curtain. After Toulouse, the question is this: Will anything be done now to make it possible for Jewish children to receive a safe education in France? What’s your guess?



[2] 9014-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=published_links/rss/ world_europe/feed//product#axzz1q3G4PNmP

[3] muslims-backlash-toulouse-mohamed-merah-jihad-al-qaeda-sarkozy

[4] mutation-de-l-antisemitisme_1674750_3232.html

[5] igen/rapports/rapport_obin.pdf

[6] Radical-Destroying/dp/0767920058/ref=tmm_pap_title_ 0?ie=UTF8&qid=1332612391&sr=1-1


Editor's Addendum

This summary of the Obin Report was written by Alex Alexiev and was posted July 6, 2005 on the View from the Right website ( by Lawrence Auster..

Alex Alexiev is is vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at

The resounding rejection of the EU constitutional project in France and the Netherlands has triggered much frenzied hand-wringing and anxious bickering about the future of Europe, though it appears to tells us more about the pervasive angst of the continent’s elites than about its future.

Completely unnoticed in this noisy brouhaha is a survey in France that tells us more about what Europe’s future will look like than the collective wisdom of its chattering classes. Innocuously entitled “Signs and Manifestations of Religious Affiliation in the Educational Establishments” and headed by the inspector general of French education Jean-Pierre Obin, the study was actually finished last year but remained unpublished until leaked on the Internet a few weeks ago.

It is easy to understand why the French government was unwilling to publish it. For the survey is a devastating indictment and an anxious wake-up call at the same time.

The result of an extensive research and five months of field interviews in numerous schools in 20 French provinces by a distinguished group of educators, the Obin report documents the extensive Islamization of French schools in the vicinity of Moslem ghettoes and the imposition of strict conformity with Islamist dictates through violence and intimidation.

Having by and large completed their takeover of the Moslem ghettoes, often by “targeted violence” against non-Moslems and moderate Moslems alike, the Islamist fanatics are making great progress towards achieving control of the educational system as well.

As usual, girls are the first victims of religious extremism. The “big brothers,” as the Islamists are known in school, enforce a strict Islamic dress code which prohibits make-up, dresses and skirts, forbid any co-educational activities and make going to the movies, the swimming pool or the gym all but impossible for Moslem girls.

The punishment for refusal to conform is often physical violence and beatings. And this, says the report, is a relatively protected environment compared to “what girls experience outside of school.” Such as forced marriages at 14 or 15.

No less disturbing is the picture Obin paints of the spread of the kind of religious obscurantism that one associates with Wahhabi zealots, but would find difficult to envisage in a public school in the heart of Western Europe.

Moslem students often refuse to study Voltaire or read Madame Bovary, acknowledge even the existence of other religions, or sing, dance, draw faces or right angles because they resemble the cross. English, on the other hand, is hated as the “language of imperialism.”

Increasingly, the radical Islamists are able to secure special, often preferential, treatment for Moslem students making a mockery of French secular traditions. In some schools, Moslems already have the right to eat at separate tables, have their own toilets off limits to the infidels, be served only halal (Islam’s kosher) food and practice mass absenteeism during Moslem holidays.

In addition to the routine expression of violent anti-Semitic sentiments, schools have also become a major focus of aggressive proselytism. The report states that it is virtually impossible for non-practicing Moslem kids in school not to conform to the strict Islamist behavior prescriptions. Even non-Moslems are often forced to take part in Ramadan fasting, against the wishes of their parents.

Perhaps the most sobering revealation of the studies findings is this new generation of Moslem children, born and raised in Europe, is growing up already indoctrinated to consider themselves part of a “Moslem nation” separate and opposed to everything Western civilization stands for.

Whether it is their obscurantist worldview, their anti-democratic and violent tendencies or wide-spread admiration for Osama Bin Laden and assorted terrorists, this is a generation that is clearly on a collision course with democratic society.

Faced with this wholesale assault on basic democratic values and secularism, the educational establishment appears powerless and immobilized. It admits that Jewish kids can no longer be schooled without being subject to constant racist and anti-Semitic harassment and cannot protect the freedom of spiritual choice of minor children, but does not know what to do. Instead, it engages in self-censorship and tolerates and appeases violent intolerance.

And this is not just France’s problem. The same phenomenon of large numbers of angry young Moslems who totally reject European civilization is easily observable in virtually every large urban center across the EU.

Moreover, the future is on their side. With fertility rates twice those of the native Europeans and large-scale legal and illegal immigration, Europe’s Moslem population is growing by leaps and bounds. Though only 4 to 5% of the general population, Moslems already make up 25% to 30% of the under 18 cohort in large cities.

On present demographic trajectory, they will become a majority of that cohort in the metropolitan areas where they are concentrated in 30 years or less. If they were to resemble the students described in the Obin Report at all, it would be difficult to imagine Europe remaining secular and democratic for long.

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