The Lower House of the French Parliament has passed a controversial Bill, titled Supporting Republican Principles, which is aimed at cracking down on what has been termed Islamist Separatism.
The timing of the move is interesting, as France has suffered several Islamist terrorist attacks in 2020, including the gruesome beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, who had allegedly shown his pupils cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in October. Later, he was stabbed to death at a Church in Nice. Earlier in September, a knife assault had taken place outside the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
According to sources close to the French Parliament, the key proposals in the Bill would help expose personal information about someone, knowing that doing so would put then in danger, would be punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of EUR 45,000. As per the Bill, institutions would have to declare donations of over EUR 10,000 and have their accounts certified. Furthermore, authorities would be banned from issuing residency papers to polygamous applicants. Schools, too, should be obligatory from age three in an effort to end clandestine schools allegedly run by the fundamentalists. Apart from all these, a judge can be forbid anyone convicted of provoking terrorism, discrimination, hate or violence from frequenting mosques.
The Bill has already won the approval of in the National Assembly that is dominated by the Centrist En Marchel Party of President Emmanuel Macron, and is expected to be passed by the Conservative-led Senate in the coming days.
Interestingly, the proposed Law directly mentions neither Islam nor Islamism in an effort to avoid stigmatising Muslims. However, critics have accused President Macron of pandering to the Far-Right ahead of the 2022 Presidential Elections. One remark from him in particular in the aftermath of last year’s terror attacks that “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world” drew fierce criticism overseas.
France is home to at least five million adherents of different sects of Islam.
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