France’s Ideals Are a Harder Sell Among Diverse Youth

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Meeting a minister was to be the spotlight of the occasion.

Ms. El Haïry, 32, the daughter of Muslim immigrants from Morocco and one of many youngest members of President Emmanuel Macron’s authorities, might have been the wildly profitable older sister of many individuals there. But there have been additionally sharp variations. Her household was well-to-do: Her father was a medical physician who went to work in Africa, and her mom and stepfather owned a restaurant in Casablanca, Morocco.

Politically, she had espoused clear, conservative positions since not less than her highschool days, recalled classmates on the prestigious Lycée Lyautey in Casablanca, the place she spent a part of her adolescence. Unlike the youngsters she confronted in Poitiers, Ms. El Haïry strongly embraced France’s lofty universalist beliefs.

France, she mentioned in an interview at her workplace in Paris, represented a “chance.”

“It doesn’t look at you by your religion, it doesn’t look at you by the color of your skin, it doesn’t look at you by your parents’ standing,” she mentioned. “It gives you the chance to be a full citizen and to construct yourself in this pact.”

That was not how the youngsters noticed it.

One of those that attended was Jawan Moukagni, now 16, the daughter of a white Frenchwoman and an immigrant man from a former French colony in Central Africa. For so long as she might keep in mind, she had wished to hitch the nationwide gendarmerie, France’s army police.

She grew up as a training Catholic, however the many West African immigrants in her neighborhood in Poitiers sparked in her an curiosity in Islam.

Jawan noticed issues from each side. At college, the place France’s strict secularism forbids the sporting of any seen spiritual symbols, a few of her academics mentioned nothing when she wore a cross. But when she noticed Muslim pals put on a veil in public, she noticed what number of French folks handled it as radioactive.

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