FRANCE: Civil society and trade unions against obscurantism

Following the killing of Samuel Paty and the worrying hatred and stigmatising statements against Muslims and Muslim organisations by certain political forces, civil society organisations and trade unions are collectively stressing that they “can only reinforce deleterious cleavages” in society and “feed the machines of hatred“.

Statement of 21 October 2020, translated from French and accessible here:


Once again, the horrible face of terrorism challenges us.

To murder and decapitate a teacher, a history and geography teacher in charge of moral and civic education, is to attack the heart of our society.

It means attacking these men and women who are responsible throughout the country for teaching knowledge, initiating reasoned debate, awakening the critical spirit and ensuring freedom of conscience.

It is to attack the ambition of a common school giving all young people the means to control their future.

In all our schools, by exercising their profession, the teachers and all the personnel bring to life the republican values, freedom, secularism, by giving them meaning. Every day, through their patient action, teachers and national education personnel contribute to building a Republic that is united and fraternal, diverse and respectful, enlightened and capable of democratic debate.

In the face of the obscurantism that has massacred one of our own and is hurting us, our response must be firm and resolute. This act was committed in the name of fundamentalist Islamism. It is this ideology and those who carry it that must be fought relentlessly.

Moreover, the stigmatization of Muslims, into which certain political forces have wanted to drag the country for many years, can only reinforce deleterious divisions and feed the machinery of hatred.

It is through an ambitious policy of education within the framework of public and secular schools with the involvement of popular education movements complementary to public education and local authorities, to transmit and keep alive the values of the Republic, through a policy of social justice that we will reduce the obscurantist dangers and guarantee our freedoms.

Because it is the very future of the Republic, of its public and secular schools and of our Nation that is at stake, and with them, a part of that of the world, we call on the entire population to build this response with us.

Signatories: Céméa, Ligue de l’enseignement, LDH, Les Francas, France nature environnement, Jeunesse au plein air, Mrap, Solidarité laïque, CGT, CGT Educ’action, FSU, Sgen CFDT, CFDT formation et enseignements privés, Union syndicale Solidaires, Sud Education, Sundep Solidaires, Unef, UNL, Unsa Education, Unsa