Last week, lawmakers in France debated a bill aiming to rout out only “radical” Islam. These laws hope to prevent radical beliefs from seeping through to the community that will affect the whole country with plans that undermine national values.
The bill’s sponsor, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, says the laws are designed to stop “an Islamist hostile takeover targeting Muslims.” He insists that “we are not fighting against a religion,” though many Muslims are worried the amendments will increase stigmas against them.
In a previous presidential address by Emmanuel Macron, he warned against “the formation of a counter-society shown by children being taken out of school, the development of separate community sporting and cultural activities serving as a pretext for teaching principles which aren’t in accordance with the Republic’s laws.”
His speech spurred a Moroccan boycott of French products, a reactive measure taken due to their perception that France promotes “Islamophobia”. Fear of radical Islam in France is growing; only 56% of citizens surveyed in 2018 believed Islam is compatible with French society.
Darmanin agreed with Macron in his comments when speaking to lawmakers. He said: “Our country is suffering from a sickness of separatism, first and foremost an Islamist separatism that is like gangrene infecting our national unity.”
The Interior Minister wrote that “Islamism is a Trojan horse hiding the fragmentation bomb of our society,” according to Le Figaro, the daily newspaper. “In the face of such a dangerous and insidious enemy, which we know is far from the religion of the prophet (of Islam), it is normal that public officials take unprecedented measures.”
The bill submitted for debate is one facet of Macron’s bid to do what previous lawmakers tried but failed to do: create a tailored “Islam of France.” The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) created a “charter of principles for Islam of France,” completed by Muslim leaders last month after much commotion among the Muslim alliances.
"Lawmakers debate bill to rout out radical Islam in France: Critics say the bill covers ground already addressed in current laws while far-right leader Marine Le Pen says the bill doesn't go far enough." https://t.co/eqKeAEQh0R
— Muslim Voices (@muslimvoices) February 3, 2021
In many aspects, the bill is designed to oversee associations and mosques' operations, which includes foreign monetary support. The bill also plans to block any entry points for radical Islam extremes into French communities.
The Foundation of Islam's leader, a secular institution that defines a progressive Islam, labeled the pending law “unjust but necessary.”
To protect children from indoctrination and eliminate underground schools, the bill requires all children aged three and up to attend public schools. Approximately 50,000 children received home-schooling in 2020, according to French media. However, the number of “clandestine schools” where children are mostly indoctrinated in radical extremism is unknown.
A few of the measures required are associations that receive state funding to sign a “contract of Republican commitment” to ensure French values are honored. Associations that receive foreign funding must declare amounts over 10,000 euros ($12,100).
One measure proposes close oversight on associations, including those that run mosques, to prevent outsiders from taking control of an association. The bill also aims to stop doctors from issuing virginity certificates, polygamy, and forced marriage practices.
A proposed law called the “Paty Law” was named after school teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded for showing students caricatures of the prophet.
Government officials are committed that the bill will benefit all of France, including French Muslims. The Prime Minister maintains this law will “free Muslims from the growing grip of radical Islamism.”