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When the world is suffering from the increasing menace of radical Islam, France has decided to bring in a law to tackle the issue. On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that a bill would be laid in the Parliament to fight homegrown Islamic separatism within Muslim communities in the country.
France strictly adheres to the principle of secularism (laicité), which promulgates complete separation of the Church and the State. The country has adopted the constitutional principle in 1905, following ‘anti-clerical struggle’ with the Catholic Church. France is home to 5 million Muslims who constitute 5-7% of the population.
French law to curb homeschooling to prevent indoctrination
The French President has expressed concerns about the rise of radicalism in France, often in a non-violent form, with the Muslims. Macron highlighted that the new bill will ‘severely’ restrict home-schooling to prevent children from being ‘indoctrinated’ with separatist ideology. Reportedly, the law will also check the proliferation of ‘unregistered’ educational institutions, which offer curriculum different from the national one.
Foreign Imams cannot train clerics in France, Macron informs
While the new law will encourage the teaching of the Arabic language in France and the creation of an ‘Institute of Islamology’, foreign Islamic clerics will not be permitted to train imams in France. “What we need to fight is Islamist separatism. The problem is an ideology which claims its own laws should be superior to those of the Republic,” the French President stated recently. He also emphasised the need for an ‘enlightened Islam’ in the country.
The new law will also empower Central government representatives aka prefects to overturn decisions by mayors that promote gender-based segregation in cafeterias and swimming pools. According to French officials, Muslims often force young children to wear full-face veils, refuse to shake hands with people belonging to the opposite gender, a drastic increase in the number of madrassas and segregated swimming pools.
Muslim group criticises French President’s ‘choice of words’
Criticising his statement, President Amar Lasfar of the Muslims of France Association said, “It is a speech that tries to point at danger, and I do not quite agree. In ‘Islamism’ there is the word ‘Islam’ and I think he could have talked about extremism or radicalisation. One cannot stigmatise all Muslims.” He added that a new law was not required and argued that existing laws could be used to achieve the same outcome.
Radical Islamist attacks in France
France has faced the wrath of several jihadist attacks in the past 5 years, resulting in 250 deaths. Last week, an 18-year-old Pakistani terrorist named Ali Hassan aka Zaheer Hassan Mehmood stabbed four people with a meat cleaver near the former offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo near the Richard Lenoir Metro Station in Paris. Two people were critically injured in the attack. Hassan, who hails from Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab province of Pakistan, was eventually nabbed by the Paris Police Department.
Charlie Hebdo had decided to republish the cartoons on prophet Mohammed that led to the terrorist attack against them in 2015. Their decision to republish the cartoons had triggered widespread protests across the Muslim world and renewed calls for violence.