Which means that, despite the French national creed of laïcité, it’s not France any more:
Robert Ménard was elected mayor of Béziers in March 2014, one of several Front National mayoral victories. The former founder of Reporters Without Borders has proven himself to be loyal to traditional values and unafraid to take chances. Last Christmas he insisted on displaying a nativity in City Hall even though it contravened the law on laïcité. A lawsuit brought against him by a concerned citizen and the Human Rights League ended in a surprising victory for the mayor.
Now he has done it again. He has contravened French law by making a count of how many Muslim pupils there are in the public schools of Béziers. It is forbidden in France to keep a record of ethnic statistics, but Ménard was curious. And using the class rolls printed by the ministry of National Education, the mayor concluded that 64.6% of the pupils in his city were Muslims.
The French newspaper Le Figaro has the story. Unlike the U.S., which is currently obsessed with ethnicity, France does not keep ethnic statistics on its citizenry. But many are wondering whether that needs to change:
“The Republic makes no distinction among children,” Manuel Valls reminded the National Assembly on Tuesday. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, minister of National Education, also denounced on Twitter “a profoundly anti-republican record-keeping”, while the prosecutor for the city of Béziers, Yvon Calvet, announced a preliminary investigation for “illegal files based on ethnic origin.”
“Robert Ménard is returning to the worst practices of Vichy and Pétainism,” remarked the Socialist deputy Sébastien Denaja to Libération. François Hollande, on a visit to Riyad, also denounced a practice “contrary to all the values of the Republic.” The president did not fail to indicate that sanctions could be taken.
This controversy at least has the merit of rekindling the debate on ethnic statistics,” stated Robert Ménard, who also responded to the attacks, including those of the government. “How can you speak of the Republic when it is forbidden to know the facts? How can you say you’re in a democracy when you don’t have the information that allows you to make decisions?” he wondered. “It’s time to put an end to the hypocrisy and to talk freely about immigration”, he added…
This won’t end well.