"Success rate reached more than 75 percent, thank God," Ammar Al-Asfar, the principal of Ibn Rushd school, told IslamOnline.net on Sunday, July 8.
Of the 20 alumni, fifteen male and female students have succeeded, he said, adding that a majority of 12 hijab-donned students had scored excellent remarks.
"We are proud of these results for a start.
"We have remarkably ironed out the first obstacle that faced us since the school came into being," noted Asfar.
The first batch of graduates tossed their graduation hats into the air on Friday, July 7.
In July of 2003, the French government approved the establishment of Ibn Rushd school in Lille, where Muslims make up 25 percent of the one million population.
Seventy students are enrolled in the school, which came as a source of relief for Muslim girls, who had to leave their state-run school because of their hijab.
France adopted in November 2004 a controversial law banning hijab and religious symbols like Jewish skullcaps, crucifixes and Sikh turbans in public schools.
French Muslims — a sizeable six-million minority — along with practicing Jews, Sikhs and international human rights groups strongly condemned the law, saying it violated the freedom of religion right in secular France.
Asfar said that the school's hijab-donned students were treated well at the state-supervised exam centers in Lille.
"They were neither discriminated against nor harassed," he said. "They were treated with respect."
Asfar said that the anti-hijab law cut both ways as it badly harmed French Muslims, but prompted them to establish their own schools like other minorities.
The controversial law forced many French Muslim girls to enroll in schools in neighboring European countries or at private schools at home.
Belgium, Switzerland, Turkey and Britain are among the countries that were sought by a growing number of hijab-clad students.
Others have opted for charge-free tutorials provided by French Muslims.
A number of private schools have also opened special sections for hijab-clad students shunned by state schools.
The second Muslim secondary school is expected to open next academic year in Lyon, central France.Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16