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“Provocation”, “a Moroccan Muslim”, “an Ayatollah”: the appointment of a young Morocco-born woman as France’s education minister has sparked a wave of attacks that has renewed concerns about racism in the country.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is one of the brightest lights in President Francois Hollande’s deeply unpopular government.
The 36-year-old telegenic Hollande protegee was appointed last month as the country’s first-ever female education minister, the latest step in a prodigious political career.
But her appointment was greeted with a volley of complaints from the far-right, with its weekly mouthpiece Minute describing the appointment of “a Moroccan Muslim” as a “provocation”.
Another right-wing publication, Valeurs Actuelles, described her as the new “Ayatollah” at the education ministry.
And the latest controversy: over the weekend, a false letter circulated on Twitter, purportedly from the minister, encouraging town halls to introduce an hour of Arabic-language class in schools.
Unwed mothers in Morocco struggle against harsh judgement