As published here yesterday, France Leading the West: Large numbers of eminent French academics and journalists have supported the president and been severely critical of what they regard as the moral disintegration of America. France will not be a party to any notion of white self-criticism on grounds of privilege and is unabashed in its expressed belief that the West and France, in particular, has been a civilizing influence in the world, though certainly not without fault.
……in dealing with Islamic-related problems in the West, we would be led by the French. For better or worse, France is the most experienced Western country in managing Arab questions — from 1848 to 1963, Algeria was not a colony but a Department (province) of France itself.
France was also for many years the colonial power in both Morocco and Tunisia, and it governed many other Arabs in Africa as well as, between 1919 and 1948, Syria and Lebanon. There were more than 1 million ethnic French in Algeria when that country was granted independence after a brutal war between 1954 and 1962, in which approximately 750,000 people died (about as many as in the U.S. Civil War).
At the end of that conflict, the French leader, General Charles de Gaulle, had little choice but to admit to France not only the returning French but also those Arabs who had been loyal to friends, to prevent their outright massacre at the hands of the Algerian revolutionary leaders. This was the quick launch of the Muslim presence in France and is the explanation for why there are more Muslim Arabs in France than in any other entirely European country (about 3.5 million, or 5.4% of the population).
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French parliament APPROVES law to fight Islamist extremism by banning hate preachers and letting police close religious schools
- The law has been criticised for stigmatising Muslims and restricting free speech
- It was approved by a clear majority of MPs in France’s National Assembly
- French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party backed the law
- The approval comes with presidential elections looming next year and with decades-long divisions about the integration of France’s Muslim population
By Chris Jewers for Mail Online, 16 February 2021 |
France’s parliament has approved a law aimed at fighting ‘Islamist separatism’ by banned hate preachers and giving police the power to close religious schools.
France’s lower house voted on Tuesday in favour of the law billed by the government as a riposte to religious groups attempting to undermine the secular state.
The draft legislation, which has been criticised for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups, was backed by a clear majority of MPs in the National Assembly.
President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party rallied around the law, with 347 National Assembly lawmakers voting in favour, 151 against and 65 abstaining.
Draft legislation to battle ‘Islamist separatism’, which has been criticised for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups, was backed by a clear majority of MPs in the National Assembly (pictured on February 9)
The text will now be submitted to the upper house Senate, where Macron’s party does not hold a majority.
‘It’s an extremely strong secular offensive,’ Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio ahead of the vote Tuesday. ‘It’s a tough text… but necessary for the republic.’
Among the more than 70 separate articles, the law expands the ability of the state to close places of worship and religious schools, as well as to ban extremist preachers.
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Amid concerns about the funding of mosques by Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia, it requires religious groups to declare large foreign donations and have their accounts certified.
It comes with presidential elections looming next year and with decades-long divisions about the integration of France’s large Muslim population and the threat of Islamists causing fresh tensions.
Macron and Darmanin in particular have been accused of pandering to far-right voters by exaggerating the danger of Islamist groups in the often-marginalised immigrant communities found in French suburbs.
onal Assembly lawmakers voting in favour, 151 against and 65 abstaining
President Emmanuel Macron’s (pictured on February 16) centrist party rallied around the law, with 347 National Assembly lawmakers voting in favour, 151 against and 65 abstaining
The government counters that the threat is real, pointing to repeated terror attacks and what Macron called the development of a ‘counter-society’ that rejects secularism, equality and other French values and laws.
Over the past week, a school teacher in a tough suburb southwest of Paris has come to national prominence over claims he needed police protection after receiving death threats for denouncing local Islamists.
Right-wing parties see him as a whistleblower warning about the danger of extremist groups, while those on the left have pointed to his provocative statements about Islam and accuse him of overstating the threat.
His case was picked up in the national media because of its echoes of the beheading of a school teacher, Samuel Paty, by a teenage Islamist last October that profoundly shocked the country.
Paty was the subject of an online hate campaign started by a parent of a child at his school who objected to his showing of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a civics class about free speech.
Paty’s killing prompted the inclusion of a new crime in the draft law of disclosing personal information about someone while knowing it will put the person in danger.
Critics say Macron is seeking to harden his record on Islamism and security ahead of a likely re-match with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in next year’s election. Pictured: Palestinians burn a picture of French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration against him last year
Another crime of ‘separatism’ – defined as threatening a public servant in order to gain ‘a total or partial exemption or different application of the rules’ – would be punishable by up to five years in prison.
With campaigning ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections already heating up, the right-wing opposition Republicans (LR) party and the far-right National Rally have both said the bill does not go far enough.
They have called for restrictions on the wearing of the Islamic veil, which they both view as a manifestation of Islamism, rather than an expression of cultural identity or religious piety.
The government has rejected calls for a wider headscarf ban, but the law will expand the demand for ‘religious neutrality’ in clothing to people working for private companies carrying out public services.
Critics say Macron is seeking to harden his record on Islamism and security ahead of a likely re-match with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in next year’s election.
He pushed an initiative recently to ask eight federations representing Muslims in France to sign a 10-point ‘charter of principles,’ which three refused.
Samuel Paty’s killing prompted the inclusion of a new crime in the draft law of disclosing personal information about someone while knowing it will put the person in danger
The 43-year-old head of state is also accused of doing too little to counter discrimination and racism, though a new law and funding has been promised to help marginalised communities.
Nearly 200 people demonstrated in Paris on Sunday against the bill, accusing it of ‘reinforcing discrimination against Muslims.’
In January, a group of academics and campaigners wrote in the newspaper Liberation that the law was ‘an unprecedented blow’ to religious freedom and the freedom to form associations.
In the wake of Paty’s killing, the government used its existing powers to close several mosques and two leading Muslim organisations, the charity Baraka City and the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.
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