Are Arabic Schools in France Really Hotbeds for Radicalism?

175725797Secret report accuses French heritage-language programs of ghettoizing and radicalizing French-born youth

French conservatives are in an uproar over a 2013 report that recently surfaced accusing a nearly 40-year-old after-school heritage language program of teaching “Islamic catechism” and radicalizing young French students from immigrant families. France’s now-dissolved High Council on Integration (Haut Conseil à l’intégration, or HCI), which was a government council concerned with how foreign-born people living in France integrated into French society, wrote a confidential report to the Prime Minister on the Teaching of Language and Culture of Origin Program (ELCO), criticizing the program for fostering communitarianism among third- or fourth-generation immigrants and their heritage communities instead of promoting assimilation. In the French media, the scandal is not just because of the report’s recommendations, but also that the report remained a secret for nearly two years.