France concerned by closure of schools in Algeria
PARIS, March 2, 2006 (AFP) - A sudden decision by Algeria to close 42 French schools because they did not give priority to Arabic, the national language, sparked concern in France Thursday.
Several French newspapers noted the closures, which had been threatened for a year, and quoted Algerian parents saying the decision was “catastrophic” for their children.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was seen as making concessions to Islamic hardliners in parliament by ordering the closures.
Algeria, a former French colony that only won independence after a brutal war, has laws asserting the primacy of Arabic in official documents and institutions, even though French is widely spoken, especially among the elite.
Le Parisien newspaper quoted an Algerian civil rights activist and lawyer, Mouloud Brahimi, as saying that the decision “is part of a worrying phenomenon, which is leading Muslim countries to turn in on themselves.”
Subject: French news