France: Teacher faced death threats for requesting student remove Islamic veil to sit exam

By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

A teacher was subjected to death threats and accusations of Islamophobia after asking a student to remove her Islamic veil to perform an identity check before sitting an exam in a French high school.

The incident occurred on Thursday before the student’s baccalaureate exam at the Charlemagne High School in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.

Upon arriving at the examination center, the student was asked to remove her veil for the purposes of a standard identity check, as required by French law. However, “despite the reminders to the law made several times by staff of the school,” the student initially refused.

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In an interview with Révolution Permanente, the student revealed she eventually complied with the request.

“I removed it to avoid any conflict,” she told the publication, claiming that the teacher in question became “aggressive” during the “tense” exchange.

The teacher was viciously targeted on social media following the altercation after one of the student’s friends posted about the incident on Twitter. A number of social media users demanded to know the educator’s name and to see a picture of them, while others made death threats and accused the member of staff of Islamophobia.

The teacher subsequently filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office who have since opened an investigation into the “death threats, online moral harassment, and endangering the life of another person by disseminating information relating to their private life.”

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The incident strikes a resemblance to the case of Samuel Paty, a French secondary school teacher who was beheaded in October 2020 after purportedly showing his class of students Charlie Hebdo’s 2012 cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Paty’s murder by an 18-year-old Chechen Muslim refugee led to an uproar from conservatives in the country who pinned the blame on French President Emmanuel Macron’s open-door immigration policy.

The safety of teachers in French schools has been a major talking point for a number of years now across the country. In November 2020, a 14-year-old student, equipped with an electric stun gun, threatened to murder his teacher by “beheading, as they did to Samuel Paty.”

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