Médéric Chapitaux, now a doctor in sociology, wants the 2004 law banning ostentatious religious symbols in national education to be extended to the field of sports. Today, it was determined by the authorities that 127 sports associations were affiliated with a separatist movement.
“Although there is a law prohibiting it in France, we allow 11 thousand people to receive education in a separatist environment.”Specially condemned by franceinfo on Wednesday, October 25 Médéric Chapitaux, former gendarmerie, Ministry of Sports official, doctor of sociology and author of the book When Islamism penetrates sports Located at Presses Universitaires de France (PUF). Today, it was determined by the authorities that 127 sports associations were affiliated with a separatist movement. Football and combat sports are especially affected by this incident.
Médéric Chapitaux demands that the 2004 law banning ostentatious religious symbols in national education be extended to the field of sports. “This will allow sports club leaders to have a legal basis they can rely on.” explains. Today football clubs are asking “We provide them with a locker room so they can pray before the match.”showed as an example.
franceinfo: Concretely, when you say “Islamism is entering sports”, what exactly is this about?
Médéric Chapitaux: Islamism is everything that is against the rules of sports and the principle of neutrality in the field of sports. This would be permissiveness, that is, people who allow wearing veils on the sports field, for example. This was challenged in court today and the courts ruled in favor of the French government. These will be people who will be in communitarianism. We only come together as religious brothers and sisters in a sports club, others are not allowed to come. We are falling into division. Finally, radicalization. As we have heard since the attack on the Arras professor, it is up to the intelligence services to decide who places individuals in the Dossier of Reports to prevent terrorist radicalization.
Football and combat sports are particularly affected. Why do you think ?
This is not new. We have been experiencing the first reflections of this definition since 2010. In 2011, the European Council warned all European countries about these disciplines. I have collected notes from intelligence services that show that there is indeed porosity between these two disciplines. Why ? Because sports is a great area of socialization. We can only be happy about this. However, sometimes there may be deviations. We’ve seen this with sexual violence, we’ve seen this with doping, we’ve also seen it with Islamist entryism.
“Football is a means of employment because it is played by a large number of people. In combat sports, on the other hand, we are in a utilitarian version, that is, we want to prepare for the fight.”Médéric Chapitaux, former gendarmerie, Ministry of Sports official
We have documents from terrorist groups around the world, published on the Internet, explaining that attending combat sports clubs is necessary to prepare for eventual jihad.
Are boxing clubs in France serving as recruiting grounds for jihadists?
Today we can confirm this in terms of ideological radicalization. An intelligence service official in France, during a well-documented interview for my thesis, said that almost all of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in France and Europe passed through combat sports clubs. But technically speaking, this is relevant since they are trying to confront law enforcement. So, instead of classical dance, you can also do martial arts.
You say that the principle of prayer before a football match is sometimes institutionalized. Do you have concrete examples?
In today’s championships, clubs want to be allocated a dressing room when they travel, where they can pray before the match. In fact, we have two educators today who tell us that prayer is fully integrated into pre-match preparations.
Why is it harmful to pray in the locker room before the match?
This is a real question. This is not an opposition. This is permissibility. At what point do we depart from the republican framework? It is the area of neutrality. The locker room is part of the game. A football referee has the right to give a yellow or red card due to various comments in the locker room. It is the field of play, and we do not pray on the field of play. Questions may arise as soon as we begin to pray collectively. I come from combat sports. If we need to pray because we need to before stepping into the ring, we will not forbid it. This is normal. You’re putting your body at risk, you’re risking a lot of things. Some educators tell us that religion is part of sports performance and this needs to be understood. This does not mean that everyone who prays tomorrow will be a terrorist. That’s definitely not the point. It means ‘Be careful, there is graduation’. You should be able to identify these graduations. In the vast majority of cases, things go very well. What do we do when things don’t go well? This is where we need to intervene and perhaps this is the issue to be discussed.
Today, it has been determined that 127 sports associations are associated with the separatist movement. Compared to the 360,000 structures announced, this is not a huge deal. Should it be turned into a book?
This is a very good explanation. These are government figures. We can only be glad that this represents 0.07% of sports associations. When you say it like this, I agree with you, there is no need to write a book about it. But let me tell you, if we convert this figure into real value, this represents 11,000 people who are allowed to study in a separatist environment, even though in France we have a law prohibiting this. The separatism law (2021) has been written, now it needs to be implemented.
The 2004 National Education Law bans ostentatious religious symbols. Should it be applied in sports?
I am in favor of education and republican consistency. If we do not follow the same directives and instructions as the Ministry of National Education, we cannot say that sports is a vector of education. Technically speaking, a 2004 law extended to sports services would allow sports club managers to have a legal basis to proceed. The second element that is indispensable for me: Imagine if sports educators today could be ranked at the highest level and train with our children face to face because radicalization is not illegal.
Are those who engage in religious propaganda the administrators?
Certainly. Imagine a fitness trainer who would be noticed by intelligence. It will be presented to a department evaluation group (Regional system for the prevention of radicalization) at a meeting with a department head in the morning. Everything becomes more normal every day. That’s why it’s included in the intelligence file. The same educator received his state diploma as a sports instructor, for example, football, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. While he is registered, in the afternoon the same governor will be able to give him a blue, white and red card to become a sports instructor anywhere, since he cannot be banned from training. There is a dilemma bordering on absurdity. It is imperative that some educational coherence be restored to all of this.