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Fact check: France has proposed that all school children be given ID numbers, not just Muslim kids

Social media users have claimed that Muslim children in France will be assigned identification numbers. This statement is misleading and misses context, as the country has proposed registering all school children with ID numbers, regardless of religion, to track and ensure their attendance at school.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

On Facebook, one post claims that: “In France, Muslim kids will be assigned ID numbers, the Muslim hate crime monitor has been abolished and you can get deported for complaining about the content of lessons. This is institutionalised Islamophobia and it’s scary. We can’t let this happen in the UK.” (here)

Following the killing of Paris schoolteacher Samuel Paty, the government has drafted legislation that aims to prevent radicalisation from Islam (here).

Paty was beheaded in a Paris suburb after he showed pupils satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class focused on freedom of expression.

Under the new law, home-schooling would be severely restricted to avoid children being “indoctrinated” in unregistered schools that deviate from the national curriculum (here).

Each child would also be assigned with a national identification number, Article 20 of the bill states (here).

Many children have this number already from being enrolled in school. However, the bill would expand this to encompass all children, including those who are home schooled or in private schools.

On Twitter, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs confirmed that the registration would apply to all children regardless of religion (here).

In an apparent reference to the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), the post also claims that the Muslim hate crime monitor has been abolished.

After the attack, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmani said the government would be investigating 51 French Muslim associations (here).

The CCIF, a nonprofit organisation that monitors anti-Muslim hate crimes in France, has since been informed that it may be dissolved.

In a tweet, Darmani called the organisation an "enemy of the Republic" (here).

The claim that a person can be deported for complaining about the content of lessons may refer to the bill’s proposal to give harsher punishments to those who intimidate public servants on religious grounds (here).

In an interview with the radio station Europe 1, Darmani said it would be a criminal offence for parents to tell a teacher to stop showing characters in classes.

"Parents who go to a teacher to tell them to stop teaching cartoons protected by freedom of speech, tomorrow that will be a criminal offense", he told the broadcaster (here).

“A judge will be able to say ‘if you are a foreigner and convicted of this crime, you can leave the national territory”.

VERDICT

Misleading due to missing context. A draft law has proposed that ID numbers will be given to all school children in France, not just Muslims.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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