The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Muslims are enrolling at a rapid rate in Catholic schools in France and making the schools more Muslim than Catholic in some instances.

For Muslims this situation is born out of necessity as there are only four Muslim schools in France but nearly 9,000 Catholic schools.  The students and parents are drawn to the schools because of the discipline, respect, spirituality, mathematics and higher academic standards.

While no national statistics exist both Catholic and Muslim educators estimate that Muslim students now account for more than 10 percent of the Catholic school population nationwide and over 50% in some poorer areas of the country.  As a result the schools have become a refuge for the Muslims where they can observe many of their religion’s tenets without pressure or retribution.

The Times reported in one school cafeteria it was eerily quiet as 80% of the students were Muslim and in observance of Ramadan they were attending a mid-day prayer.

Why do the Catholic schools allow Muslims to practice so openly and engage in heated debates on subjects like the Crusades or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?  Apparently it’s the money.  By teaching the national curriculum and opening the school to all faiths the government pays teacher salaries and a per student subsidy.

Now I am not a Catholic and I know that in the U.S. many Catholic schools have come under financial pressure and have either gone co-ed, merged with other Catholic schools or closed altogether.  Yet they maintained their integrity by teaching Catholic doctrine alongside other courses.

It appears to me what the Catholic school adminstrators have done is take the money to keep the schools running while losing their collective soul.  A similar thing is happening in the U.S. with regard to higher education where Catholic colleges and universities have strayed so far from the church’s tecahings that as Mal Kline the executive director of Accuracy in Academia puts  it they are now Catholic in name only.

The French government has had its share of problems with the Muslim population in many parts of the country over the last few years as they have refused to assimilate and instead insist on forcing their ways upon the rest of the country.  By allowing Muslim students to attend their schools and to be the dominant group in many cases the Catholic church has in essence turned them into little Muslim fiefdoms.  If the government or the church thinks that in doing so this will solve their problems they are sadly mistaken.

There is nothing wrong with maintaining ones cultural heritage and cultural roots but the French are slowly ceding their culture and their country to these immigrants.  Other countries like Great Britain are facing a similar challenge and are handling it much like the French by acquiescing to the Muslims for fear of offending them instead of defending their own culture.

The French and the British had better wake up before they lose all control.