1st Muslim Private Secondary School in France to Open

LILLE, France, SEPT. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- French educational authorities approved the opening this month of the country’s first Muslim private secondary school.

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Like Catholic schools, the Averroës Institute is confessional. In addition to compulsory courses, the institute’s curriculum, which is controlled by the French Ministry of Education, states that students may study Muslim culture as an elective.

Students can also study Arabic and Arab-Muslim civilization, «respecting persons and their religious convictions,» says a promotional brochure. The school’s listed objective is «To educate young people in a climate of tolerance.»

The classes, of 30 students each, are coed and girls may wear the traditional veil. The school is housed in the same building as the Mosque of Lille South, but a new location is already being considered.

The center is dedicated to Averroës (1126-1198), the doctor-philosopher-jurist who combined scientific rigor with literature, music, astronomy, theology and law.

The head of studies, Sylvie Taleb, has 17 years of teaching experience in a Catholic school.

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