French schoolgirl injured with stones in playground

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Last Wednesday, October 7, 2006, a Muslim school girl at Jean-Mermoz College in Lyon, France was injured by gravel thrown at her by four male classmates who are Muslim, as reported in the regional newspaper Le Progrès. The reason given was for eating during the fast of Ramadan, and thus not observing what is believed by Muslims to be one of the five pillars of Muslim faith.

According to a leading Jean-Mermoz School official, "it was a simple incident, not premeditated," and commented that the story did not warrant French television coverage. In a Le Progrès update report dated October 11, 2006, "the sequence of the facts are better known." Allegedly, three students were taken aside by several schoolboys, who exclaimed, "You are eating!" to one of the students in the group, a girl who was eating a sandwich, and who then threw stones (possibly gravel) which "lightly injured the girl in the head." The prosecutor of the Republic of Lyons noted that the word 'Ramadan' had not been uttered during the incident. "It is very necessary to know that the political awareness of these boys is limited," he added. Two of the four alleged perpetrators who did acknowledge these acts were suspended for four days, and the school's 250 students were assembled by the principal shortly after the event "for a solemn reminder of the law." The girl's parents lodged a formal complaint.

According to the sources, this is not the first time such an act has occurred at the school. The incident has been cause for strong emotions among the French educational community, which is sensitive to issues surrounding France's Muslim community, especially those regarding the treatment of women.

Azzedine Gacci, president of the Regional Council of Muslim Worship (CRCM), stated: "[S]i les faits sont avérés, ils sont inacceptables....")—“...if the facts are proven (to be true), they are unacceptable”. The young girl in question was in her menstruating cycle at the time of the incident. He expressed regret that some Muslim youths do not know that "femmes indisposées" (women in an exceptional state) are exempted by the Koran from observing certain aspects of Ramadan injunctions.

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