• France edition
 
Headteacher abused over lesson on Islam
File photo of the Koran. Photo: Hassan Syed

Headteacher abused over lesson on Islam

Published: 01 Feb 2013 12:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2013 12:28 GMT+01:00

Christelle Lainet – headteacher of the Notre Dame primary school in Saint-Mihiel, a town in the north-east of France, was bombarded with threats after reports of the lesson were placed on an anti-Islam website.The site also published the school’s address and phone number, and Lainet’s email address.

“My mailbox has been inundated with 300 letters, and the school telephone hasn’t stopped ringing,” the headteacher told Europe 1 radio.

“I’ve been the target of some very violent and insulting mail,” said the principal, who said she felt “frightened.”

The hate-mail was in response to a lesson given last December when a teacher distributed hand-outs on the origins and history of Islam. One of the pages contained a ‘surah’ (verse) from the Islamic holy book the Koran, “by way of illustration”, regional daily La Républicain Lorrain reported.

Some parents were offended, however, and registered their unhappiness with Lainet. On January 9th, one child’s mother, who held “extremely racist views” had a heated exchange with the principal in the school yard.

Two days later, the same student’s father asked that his child be allowed to leave the history class without punishment, a request that Lainet agreed to.

On January 29th, however, the French website ‘Islamisme’ – which describes its goal as “to defend our freedom of expression and our values” – published a damning account of the history lesson, accusing the school of “poisoning” the children with “Muslim propaganda.”

A more specific claim made by the extremist site was that the student who was excused from the history class, was subsequently sent to the principal’s office to be punished.

The outraged headteacher, who apparently has the support of most parents at the school as well as the governors, responded this week by filing a complaint of defamation against the website.

For its part, the ‘Islamisme’ website responded to the French media outcry by stipulating “we called for a reaction, not intimidation,” and has denounced Lainet’s defamation complaint as “futile.”

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Merah's brother-in-law arrested with 'jihadists'
Anti-terror police arrested terrorist Mohamed Merah's brother on his way back from Syria. Photo: AFP

Merah's brother-in-law arrested with 'jihadists'

The brother-in-law of French terrorist and mass killer Mohamed Merah was arrested with two other suspected jihadists as they flew back to France after spending several months in Syria. READ  

French nuns and priests targeted by 'thieving duo'
The couple's victims were all retired priests and nuns. Nun photo: Shutterstock

French nuns and priests targeted by 'thieving duo'

A couple in the southern French city of Toulon have been arrested for allegedly robbing retired nuns and priests whose addresses they obtained from a church directory. READ  

Top French court bolsters gay adoption
A top French court has bolstered gay parents adoption rights. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Top French court bolsters gay adoption

France's top civil court on Monday ruled authorities must allow adoptions to occur for same sex parents, regardless of how the child was conceived. READ  

'France's economic woes aren't Germany's fault'
France's prime minister got a frosty welcome in Germany. Photo: AFP

'France's economic woes aren't Germany's fault'

As France's prime minister sat in the audience on Tuesday, the top lobbyist for German industry told a conference that Germany didn't mess up the French economy and isn't responsible for fixing it. READ  

French maternity wards prepare for busiest day
France’s maternity wards will be able to cope with the increase of expecting mothers, according to INED. Newborn baby photo: Shutterstock

French maternity wards prepare for busiest day

More French babies will be brought into the world this Tuesday than on any other day this year, according to a new study, with experts attributing the phenomenon to something special that happens around the new year. READ  

VIDEO
Flood-fleeing pheasants invade French town
6,000 birds were left homeless as a result of the floods. Pheasant photo: Shutterstock

Flood-fleeing pheasants invade French town

Just days after a French village was hit by heavy flooding its residents are battling another natural hazard after it was inundated by thousands of homeless pheasants and partridges. READ  

Air France strike hits ninth day, no end in sight
There is no end in sight to the Air France pilots' strike Photo: Aeroicarus/Flickr

Air France strike hits ninth day, no end in sight

As the Air France pilots' strike grinds into its ninth day, there is little hope that unions and management are close to a deal. Over half of the airline's flights remain grounded. READ  

Emotions high ahead of Gaultier's 'last' show
Designer Jean-Paul Gauthier, right, is to give his 'last' show this week. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Emotions high ahead of Gaultier's 'last' show

Expectation--and nostalgia--are mounting ahead of the 'last' show for legendary designer Jean-Paul Gaulthier before he retires from the ready-to-wear fashion business. READ  

French leader hits out at Blair about Iraq invasion
Tony Blair got a little criticism from a top French leader. Photo: AFP

French leader hits out at Blair about Iraq invasion

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was criticized by a top French official after saying Western powers shouldn't rule using ground troops against Isis Islamic extremists. READ  

Militants say they'll kill Frenchman in 24 hours
An image grab taken from a video which allegedly shows French tourist, Herve Pierre Gourdel (C), sitting between two armed jihadists. Photo: HO/Jund Al-Khilafa via YouTube/AFP

Militants say they'll kill Frenchman in 24 hours

An Algerian group linked to Isis on Monday threatened to kill a kidnapped Frenchman within 24 hours unless Paris halts air strikes on the Islamic militants in Iraq. France has vowed not to negotiate. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se