Congregationalism in the field of youth and sports: finally published report

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Jean Damien Lesay for Localtis

The reports of the General Inspectorate of National Education, Sports and Research (İGESR) continue to come out, drop by drop, a few months after their completion. Last delivery to date: Report on “The phenomenon of communalism in sports and youth associations, collective reception of minors or other reception structures for young people”. Posted in July 2021, but brought online at the end of April. But the most striking date to remember in this report is October 21, 2020, when a memo from the head of the IGESR appointed the two pilots and a project manager, five days after Samuel’s murder. Paty by a radical Islamist. The name of the history-geography professor from Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is also mentioned several times in the report.

Limited cases of varying intensity

In their introduction to pose the problem, the authors note that since the 1980s, France has experienced “an increase in manifestations of communitarianism and an emphasis on phenomena of communalism, particularly within the Arab-Muslim community, but also “newer” waves of immigration. They add: “If certain phenomena of communitarianism can be rigidly associated with political and cultural claims, […]Likewise, if “few warnings have been reported” of Evangelical Protestant, fundamentalist Catholic, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish movements, “potentially and potentially” real or assumed risks, manifestations of the most mentioned collectivism, with a general impression of increased growth and visibility, refers to the Muslim religion.

This is – not without clarity – the mission focused its research on three types of manifestations that correspond to what it considers to constitute “communal drifts”. […] Questioning the foundations of the republic and coexistence”: denial of the values ​​and principles of the Republic, reclaiming identity or community by affirming an identity different from the national community, and attempting proselism by oppression. has been subject to community demands, tensions or pressures, although of varying intensity, but sometimes remains alarming. Statements that “show that two professional football club cases may be affected by these phenomena for some time.”

under the radar

The mission also noted “blind spots” resulting from new, less organized and standardized sports practices (outdoor events, open-access urban facilities, private and commercial offerings). Highlights the example of sporting goods made available by local authorities, but the latter “doesn’t provide any control, which can sometimes lead to their use, often ‘confiscation’ by groups of usually male youth”.

Finally, the mission claims it has “received a large number of testimonies, small or large, mainly in the suburbs of cities” about “grey areas in development” around multiple service offerings that “offer to fill the shortcomings of the authorities”. These structures organize help for homework, sports and cultural activities, even short stays, and “allow organizers to avoid arrangements in terms of collective admission of minors. […] sometimes, as in Hauts-de-France, National Education staff working on a voluntary basis “some structures do not require subsidies or municipal facilities”, notes the report on these.

Weakened public services

This pressure takes various forms. The report first refers to individual requests, such as the observance of Ramadan, the refusal of a shower, or discreet prayers. According to the report, “less frequent but more problematic” are wishes and behaviors that are often of a collective nature related to the rejection of diversity. Finally, the mission reports rare cases of attempts to enter clubs, associations or social centers, as well as the existence of partially or wholly community clubs, mostly male. He notes that these cases are “a matter of prudence by the authorities”, but also that “the intervention of an elected official or the action of a community can reverse the trend fairly quickly, even if it is sometimes necessary.” and exclude a leader”.

How can these phenomena be explained? The mission cites socio-economic inequalities, urban isolation and discrimination, as well as an “approximate and even false sense of secularism”, weakening of public services in some neighborhoods, a youth and sports administration in trouble – the report acknowledges these services are “useful”. “Leverages” – and “highly shared skills among public authorities” – that enable them to gain in-depth knowledge of missing human resources and actors on the ground – are policies in sport, youth and sport at stake. Increasingly shared between the various levels of government service and local government Popular education encompassed in competencies, not to mention CAFs – and “heterogeneous practices at the local government level”, particularly “the desire of some elected officials to respond to all requests for aid and subsidies in order to please no one, and especially their voters”.

If actions have been taken quite proactively by public authorities since 2014, particularly through “creating a culture of common vigilance in administrations and federations”, he points to the mission, at the local level, “in denial, not knowing what has been authorized or disapproved, or ignoring your association, club or It’s harder to act for fear of stigmatizing your sport”. “These local actors that the tools and training are trying to reach,” he says, “are regional agents, especially those in municipal facilities.” [qui] He is one of the first to see behaviors that violate the principles of the Republic and live together.”

Partially expected recommendations

Working during the parliamentary debate devoted to the bill reaffirming respect for the principles of the Republic, which was definitively passed on July 23, 2021 (read our article on July 26, 2021), the mission, some of its proposals intersect with the currently valid provisions. It should be noted, however, that if communities must henceforth appoint “secular references” and civil servants need to be trained in the principle of secularism, the same does not apply to local elected officials as the mission demands.

On the other hand, the recommendation for the rigorous implementation of the conditionality of aid in relation to a republican contract, aimed at improving cooperation among the managers of all public aids, is largely contained in article 63 of the law. This allows the governor to notify the mayor when he sees that an association’s approval has been withdrawn or suspended, in which case the mayor may withdraw his subsidy or stop the provision of public facilities.

On the other hand, the authors of the report regret that if the law now obliges ratified federations to report behavior contrary to republican principles, their “desire to create a means to report societal abuses, strictly legally and ethically framed and necessarily associated with a support system for actors”, ultimately not followed.