For French Muslims, A Catholic Education

In Saint Mauront Catholic school in Marsille, 80 percent of the students are Muslim and they study Arabic as elective course.

With Western Europe"s largest Muslim community, France has become home to five million Muslims. France has only four Muslim schools so the 8,847 Roman Catholic schools embrace Muslims. It’s estimated that Muslim students now form more than 10 percent of the two million students in Catholic schools in which good manners count alongside higher academic standards.

Imam Soheib Bencheikh, a former grand mufti in Marseille and founder of its Higher Institute of Islamic Studies, speaks of Catholic schools as follows: "It"s ironic, but today the Catholic church is more tolerant of, and knowledgeable about, Islam than the French state,"

Catholic schools apply the same curriculum as state schools and as of religious activities; they give freedom to their students. When the lunch bell rings, girls and boys leave their classrooms, heading for Muslim midday prayer

Being asked why they chose Catholic school, "We share the same God," said Zohra Hanane, mother of one of the students. "There is respect for our religion here," said Nadia Oualane, 14, expressing her gratitude for being in such an environment.

Both Christians and Muslims believe in same Allah. So both sides embrace each other with love and receive education together in a tolerant environment. Our Almighty Lord conveys the basis of this tolerant approach in the Qur’an as follows:

“...and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.” (Al-Máída, 82)

2008-08-25 00:00:00

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