France’s first state-contracted Muslim school

Ouest France

26.02.2013

Of the 25 Muslim educational facilities in France, the Lycée Averroès in Lille,  a Muslim private school, is the only one to be funded by the French state. In accordance with French law, the Islamic faith practiced in the institution is one coined by tolerance and inclusiveness of non-Muslims.

The school was opened in 2003 and started with 12 students.  After having successfully run the school with a 100% BAC success rate, the school started to attract state funding. As a result, teachers started to be paid by state salaries and the school could provide almost free education to its students. Today, there are 290 students enrolled in the Muslim school, which is open for admission to anyone, including non-Muslims. The curriculum is similar as to of Catholic schools in France, recognizing both Catholic and Islamic holidays and refraining from proselytising.

Toulouse hostage gunman, claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, arrested

News Agencies – June 20, 2012

French police have detained a gunman who held four people hostage at a bank in the southern city of Toulouse for almost seven hours. The man initially demanded money but when he was refused, a shot was fired and the hostages taken. Claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, he demanded to speak to the elite Raid police unit that killed Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah nearby in March.

He freed two hostages before police stormed the bank and detained him. The gunman was said to have been wounded in the thigh, but not seriously. His two remaining hostages are not thought to have been harmed.

A police union source told the regional newspaper Ouest-France it was not clear whether the man’s claim about al-Qaeda was “serious or a fantasy”. The hostage-taker was believed to be around 30 years old and known to the authorities, Toulouse newspaper La Depeche reported. He was from Castres, to the east of Toulouse, and one source told the paper he was a schizophrenic who had broken off his treatment.