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In Belgium, schools were burned in protest against sex education

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Right-wing extremists and religious organizations are carrying out a protest fueled by a widespread disinformation campaign

In the past few days, eight schools have been set up in Wallonia, one of the three regions plus Brussels and Flanders into which Belgium is divided. It was burned or destroyed In at least six cases, the campaign launched at the beginning of September by far-right movements and fundamentalist religious groups, both Muslims and Catholics, was linked against the educational course on emotional and relational sexual life (IFRAS) that the regime wanted. French-speaking Education Minister Caroline Désir, a socialist. In many of the damaged school buildings, graffiti such as “No Efras, Or You’ll Be Next” were found.

On 7 September, the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Union approved the extension of the Evras course, already active since 2012 in schools at various levels, making it compulsory for all students aged 12 to 16 years. The course lasts a total of four hours per year and covers topics such as consent, sexual and reproductive health, violence, and feelings and emotions. On the day of the vote, several hundred people demonstrated in front of the Parliament building, speaking of a “satanic path beneficial to pedophiles” and demanding “education, not sex.”

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There has been a major misinformation campaign circulating on social networks for some time regarding the course, which talks about early sexual activity, the encouragement of pornography, the so-called “gender ideology” of making boys and girls change their sex, teaching masturbation and so on. The protests have been carried out by a series of far-right movements and fundamentalist religious groups that have often expressed anti-feminist, anti-abortion, and homophobic positions.

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Among the groups protesting, for example, is Civitas, a far-right Christian fundamentalist group that opposes abortion, assisted reproduction, euthanasia and same-sex marriage and aims to “re-Christianize France.” Political scientist Jean-Yves Camus, expert on far-right affairs, He made it clear That Civitas is “the political arm of Lefebvrism”. When traditional French Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre opposed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and was subsequently excommunicated by Pope John Paul II, Civitas chose to continue to support him.

In 2016, the group became a party and supported far-right candidate Eric Zemmour in the last presidential election. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin Asked It was recently disbanded due to anti-Semitism. The president of Civitas is Belgian Alain Escada, who also leads the European Party for Life and Family coalition, which in turn has several parties. Links With the Italian anti-feminist and far-right movements.

In turn, six Islamic associations, most of them Turkish, published a letter criticizing Evras, which they consider to be an obstacle to the freedom of parents to “direct their children’s education according to their beliefs.” Another letter with 8,000 signatures, talking about the “hypersexuality” of children, was shared on the Catholic website Cathobel. Among the movements that organized the protests were also anti-vaccine activists, followers of various conspiracy theories and climate deniers.

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On Sunday, September 17, about 1,500 people gathered in central Brussels to protest against Evras under the slogan: “Don’t touch our children.” Alan Escada, of Civitas, was also present and asked for the session to be suspended. There were some in the square Interventions Against abortion, against transgender people defined as “unnatural” and in favor of “ancestral family values” of one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation.

A few days ago, the Belgian Federal Internal Public Service, which is concerned with security affairs, announced the activation of anti-terrorism and intelligence services and is monitoring the situation. The Federal Police is assisting local police in areas affected by school attacks, especially Charleroi and Liège, and contacts have also been made with other countries. In fact, the campaign against Evras extended beyond borders. In France, rapper Rove has He supported Petition against the course in the name of combating “pedophilia and deviance”.

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Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said he was “deeply shocked” by the attacks on schools, and said access to sex education would not be questioned. He also noted that sex education has been around for “fifty years” in the country.

Meanwhile, Minister Desir sent a circular to schools to confirm what the Evras course consists of and explained, on television, that “it clearly does not encourage excessive sex among young people, and does not create a sexual orientation or gender identity. “I also read that we will teach children to masturbate, it is completely unacceptable to scare parents about this issue.”

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ivras approach, It said On the website: “It is always based on respect, tolerance, acceptance of difference, and openness to others. It aims to provide reliable, impartial and comprehensive information and contribute to the development of critical thinking to help young people build their identity, ensure their well-being and their ability to make informed decisions.

– Read also: Does mainstream pornography fuel gender violence?

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