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French Education Minister Suing over Fake Arabic Lessons

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is filing a lawsuit over identify theft which involved using her name and forging her signature in a letter to encourage attendance of Arabic lessons.

The letter was disseminated on the internet and used the Ministry of Education’s letterhead, although with errors in the name of the organization. The letter encouraged French citizens to attend local classes in Arabic to “offer a voluntary hour per week to discover the Arabic language.”

She was falsely quoted in the letter, “I strongly advise you to give the green light to this activity which aims to breaking down the linguistic barriers that our children could encounter in the near future.” A spokesperson for Najat Vallaud-Belkacem pointed out that, in addition to mistakes in the letter, the Ministry of Education does not promote extracurricular activities, which are organized locally. Vallaud-Belkacem is the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Education and was attacked by far-right groups in France, who labelled her as a “Moroccan Muslim” and claimed her appointment was a “provocation.” She responded that she is a “pure product of the French Republic” and is a sign of the “happy integration” those with Arab roots in a country with the highest Muslim population in Europe.

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