Paris, France – Throughout a high-profile speech on secularism and Islam final October, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that “Islam is a faith which is experiencing a disaster right this moment, all around the world”, and there was a must “free Islam in France from overseas influences”.
Two months later, the French authorities unveiled draft laws to be able to fight what it phrases “Islamist separatism” and an ideology it describes as “the enemy of the Republic”.
Critics say the so-called “separatism regulation” is discriminatory and targets France’s 5.7 million-strong Muslim neighborhood, the most important in Europe.
Its detractors embrace the 100 imams, 50 lecturers in Islamic sciences and 50 presidents of associations in France who signed an open letter towards the “unacceptable” constitution on February 10.
This month, French MPs staged two weeks of heated debates within the Nationwide Meeting, discussing some 1,700 proposed amendments to the invoice’s 51 articles.
Tensions over the laws have been highlighted by the unusually massive variety of amendments, which got here from events throughout France’s political spectrum.
Whereas France’s left lambasted an assault on civil liberties, the proper criticised the federal government for failing to overtly sort out “Islamist extremism”, which isn’t talked about within the textual content.
With debates within the decrease home now accomplished and 313 amendments accepted, a vote will happen on Tuesday and the invoice is predicted to obtain the inexperienced mild on the Senate, earlier than passing into regulation inside months.
Listed here are some key measures the laws is ready to introduce:
Hate speech and ‘separatism’
A brand new offence for on-line hate speech will make it potential to shortly detain an individual who spreads private details about public sector workers on social media with the intent to hurt them, and shall be punishable by as much as three years’ imprisonment and a advantageous of 45,000 euros ($55,000).
The blocking or delisting of internet sites selling hate speech may also be made simpler and authorized proceedings accelerated.
Underneath a so-called “separatism” offence, anybody discovered threatening, violating or intimidating an elected official or public sector worker may also resist 5 years imprisonment and a advantageous of 75,000 euros ($91,000).
If the offence is dedicated by a foreigner, they might be banned from French territory.
Any affiliation in France that receives public funding must signal a “republican contract of engagement” which, if breached, may end up in the elimination of that funding.
If the subsidy has already been granted, it have to be reimbursed, and inside a most interval of six months.
The grounds for dissolving an affiliation are additionally not restricted to court docket orders – they’d be prolonged to incorporate administrative choices.
Homeschooling and sport
Geared toward ending so-called clandestine faculties with their very own agenda, all homeschooling will should be authorised by the state slightly than be self-declared, ranging from the 2024/2025 faculty yr.
This may have an effect on an estimated 62,000 home-schooled kids in France, although exemptions embrace well being and incapacity causes, in addition to geographic distance from faculty.
The approval of sports activities associations and buildings, in the meantime, thought-about a breeding floor for “separatism”, could be entrusted to state representatives and not to nationwide federations.
Virginity certificates, polygamy, compelled marriage
Medical doctors shall be fined 15,000 euros ($18,000) and face a jail sentence of as much as one yr for offering virginity certificates and guidelines shall be put in place towards polygamy. Any immigrants practising it, as an illustration, wouldn’t be issued a residence allow.
Suspected compelled marriages is also referred to a prosecutor and legal guidelines could be launched to ensure gender equality in inheritance.
Overseas funding of spiritual organisations
Stricter monetary controls could be put in place on overseas cash despatched to non secular organisations in France, and so-called “anti-putsch” guidelines for spiritual associations are designed to permit the federal government to forestall takeovers by “extremists”.
Those who obtain overseas financing might want to declare any earnings of greater than 10,000 euros ($12,000) from overseas and to publish annual accounts that the federal government can entry.
Policing locations of worship
Higher punishments for offences dedicated in reference to spiritual communities embrace rising penalties and permitting authorities to shut any locations of worship for as much as two months to be able to cease hate preachers.
People convicted of terrorism would even be banned from main a non secular affiliation for 10 years.
Extending the ban on spiritual symbols
The invoice extends what is understood in France because the “neutrality precept”, which prohibits civil servants from carrying spiritual symbols just like the Muslim hijab and voicing political opinions, past public sector workers to all personal contractors of public providers equivalent to these working for transport corporations.