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France Lower House Approves Anti-Separatism Bill to Battle Islamic Terror And Tighten Control of Mosques

The French Parliament passed a bill on Friday that aims to strengthen government oversight of mosques and other religious organizations and counter the influence of Islamic terrorism movements that French President Emmanuel Macron says are undermining the country’s secular values.

The legislation, called the Law Reinforcing Respect of the Principles of the Republic, passed the National Assembly, or lower house of Parliament, with a vote of 49-19, garnering support from lawmakers in Mr. Macron’s ranks as well as other centrist parties.

Mr. Macron and his supporters in the legislature have framed the bill as a response to the spread of Islamist separatism, which the president describes as a political and religious project to create a parallel society where religious laws take precedence over civil ones.

That ideology, the Macron government says, undermines the values of the French Republic—liberty, equality and fraternity—as well as the principle of laïcité, France’s strict separation of religion and state.

Long overdue – not just in France but everywhere Islamic supremacists wage jihad and enforce sharia restrictions on free western societies.

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France’s lower house approves anti-separatism bill to battle Islamist extremism

By: France 24, July 23, 2021;

The French National Assembly on Friday approved a controversial “anti-separatism” bill despite strong criticisms from parliamentarians from the Left and the Right. The government argued the legislation was needed to bolster France’s secular system, but critics say it breaches religious freedom.

After an acrimonious seven-month debate – with the text going back and forth between France’s lower house, the National Assembly, and the Senate – the anti-separatist bill was approved by 49 votes to 19. There were five abstentions.

In a fiery speech, far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Friday railed against the “anti-Republican law”, which he said was “anti-Muslim”.

France’s main opposition parties, including the Socialists (PS) and the centre-right Les Républicains, along with the French Communist Party, voted against the bill for different reasons.

Only three parties in the National Assembly – the ruling La République en marche (LREM) party and its two allies – voted for the law.

Introduced by hardline French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, the bill contains a slew of measures on the neutrality of the civil service, the fight against online hatred, and the protection of civil servants such as teachers.

The bill was debated in a highly charged atmosphere in France after three attacks late last year by extremists including the beheading in October of teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a civics class.

France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, is still shaken by the succession of massacres committed by Islamist militants from January 2015 that left hundreds dead.

Critics have however slammed the legislation as going contrary to the liberal values of the Republic that it seeks to protect.

A US envoy on religious freedom last year criticised the bill as “heavy-handed” and it has sparked unusually critical coverage in English-language media, even prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to write personally to the Financial Times to defend it.

Analysts have said Macron, who came to power in 2017 as a centrist reformer, has noticeably tacked to the right over the last months as he scents that his 2022 presidential reelection battle will come down to a run-off duel with the far-right Le Pen.

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