Teacher who spoke out against Muslim high school sentenced

Philosophy teacher Soufiane Zitouni, who severely criticized his former employer Averroès High School in Lille, was sentenced September 4 for defamation and private injury. He announced he would appeal the ruling. The 48 year-old teacher was interview in February by Libération in an article entitled “Why I quit Averroès High School.” He accused the directors of playing a “double game,” and diffusing “Islamism in a sly and pernicious manner.”

His accusations caused shockwaves. The school was the first private Muslim establishment under state contract. Opened in 2003, it is often seen as a model high school for its baccalaureate results.

The jury declared him guilty “due to lack of proof, there were no justifying documents.” He must pay 10 euros for defamation, 10 euros for injury, and 1 euro for interests and damages. Zitouni must also pay the legal fees for the trial. The teacher decided to defend himself without a lawyer.

Following the trial Zitouni announced he would appeal the decision. “I’m going to hire a lawyer. There will be a real trial with tangible proof and witness testimonies. I am calm. This doesn’t faze me, because this is not a personal but collective matter.”

Made anxious by “a certain Islam imposing itself more and more in France, an Islam that confuses politics and spirituality, that of veiled women, those who lack humor,” Zitouni guessed that the high school’s trial is going to become that of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France.

“This high school is not a tree hidden in the forest: behind it, there is the Muslim Brotherhood. The goal of the UOIF is to control Muslim leadership in France,” he challenged. On his side, engineer Mohamed Louizi promised to present several embarrassing documents concerning UOIF members. “We’re going to put it all on the table: remarks concerning Jews, the school’s financing, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology which is instilled in the heads of five year-olds,” announced Louizi.