Ebene News – UA – Six takeaways from the new French anti-separatism law

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The lower house of the French parliament voted in favor of a law to combat “Islamist separatism”, presented by the government as a response to religious groups trying to undermine the secular state

The bill, which has been criticized for stigmatizing Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups, was supported by a clear majority of MPs in the National Assembly

The centrist party of President Emmanuel Macron rallied around the law, with 347 deputies of the National Assembly voting for, 151 against and 65 abstentions

The text will now be submitted to the Senate of the upper house, where Macron’s party does not hold a majority

“This is an extremely strong secular offensive,” Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio ahead of the vote on Tuesday “It is a difficult text but necessary for the republic”

Of the more than 70 separate articles, the law expands the state’s ability to shut down places of worship and religious schools, as well as to ban extremist preachers These consolidated articles cover a range of issues, but grouped together, there are 6 things to be learned from the law

French President Emmanuel Macron laid the groundwork for a long-awaited speech on October 2 on what he called the “fight against separatism”

He denounced a trend towards “Islamist separatism” which sought to create a “counter-society” rejecting the strict form of county secularism, gender equality and other parts of French law

Macron has also been accused by critics when bending to the far right ahead of the 2022 presidential elections and one line in particular – “Islam is a religion in crisis around the world” – has sparked strong criticism abroad

The discussion escalated seriously two weeks later when schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded on the street by a radicalized Chechen-born teenager after showing his class cartoons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad

The most significant articles attempt to suppress the speeches and actions of personalities or religious organizations considered to be fundamental values ​​of the French Republic

“The republic does not have sufficient means to act against those who want to destabilize it”, we read in the preamble of the law

The text will greatly expand the powers of the state to shut down religious organizations and places of worship if they are found to be spreading “theories or ideas” which “provoke hatred or violence against a person. person or people “

All associations will also have to commit in writing to respecting “republican values” if they accept state subsidies

In order to crack down on religious funding from countries such as Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia, the law will require associations to declare donations over 10,000 euros – and to have their accounts certified

A new crime of “separatism” – described as threatening an official in order to obtain “full or partial exemption or a different application of the rules” – would carry a sentence of up to five years in prison

An article was inspired by Paty, who was the subject of an online hate campaign launched by a parent of a student at his school

The new crime, punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros, would make it a crime to disclose personal information about a person knowing that it would put them in danger

It is also illegal for doctors to examine girls to determine if they are virgins, an unscientific practice sometimes required by families before religious marriages, according to the government

The bill will also tighten controls on home schooling and expand state powers to close private religious schools

Although the introductory text refers to the threat of Islamism, the articles of the bill are worded to cover all religious organizations and do not explicitly target Muslims or Islamic organizations

The French constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion, which means that the law must be drafted in such a way that it applies to everyone

The right-wing Republican Party and the far-right National Rally both pushed during the drafting process for broader restrictions on wearing the Islamic headscarf in public, which they see as a manifestation of Islamism

French law already prohibits the wearing of “ostentatious religious symbols” in schools, while full blankets such as the niqab and burka are also prohibited in public

The government has rejected calls to ban headscarves in universities or on the streets, but the law will expand the demand for “religious neutrality” that already applies to public sector workers

People working for private companies that provide public services – airport staff or certain types of transport workers, for example – will not be allowed to wear religious clothing

France, Emmanuel Macron, Islamism

Ebene News – UA – Six points to remember from the new French anti-separatist law

Source: https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20210217-six-take-aways-from-france-s-new-anti-separatism-law-islamism-samuel-paty