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 in the present day, 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 as a way to fight what it phrases “Islamist separatism” and an ideology it describes as “the enemy of the Republic”.
Critics say the so-called “separatism legislation” is discriminatory and targets France’s 5.7 million-strong Muslim neighborhood, the biggest in Europe.
Its detractors embody the 100 imams, 50 lecturers in Islamic sciences and 50 presidents of associations in France who signed an open letter in opposition to 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 had 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 deal with “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 legislation inside months.
Listed here are some key measures the laws is about to introduce:
Hate speech and ‘separatism’
A brand new offence for on-line hate speech will make it doable to shortly detain an individual who spreads private details about public sector workers on social media with the intent to hurt them, and will likely be punishable by as much as three years’ imprisonment and a nice of 45,000 euros ($55,000).
The blocking or delisting of internet sites selling hate speech may even 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 even resist 5 years imprisonment and a nice 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 should signal a “republican contract of engagement” which, if breached, can lead to 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 might be prolonged to incorporate administrative selections.
Homeschooling and sport
Geared toward ending so-called clandestine faculties with their very own agenda, all homeschooling will have to be authorised by the state quite than be self-declared, ranging from the 2024/2025 college 12 months.
It will have an effect on an estimated 62,000 home-schooled youngsters in France, although exemptions embody well being and incapacity causes, in addition to geographic distance from college.
The approval of sports activities associations and constructions, in the meantime, thought-about a breeding floor for “separatism”, can be entrusted to state representatives and not to nationwide federations.
Virginity certificates, polygamy, pressured marriage
Docs will likely be fined 15,000 euros ($18,000) and face a jail sentence of as much as one 12 months for offering virginity certificates and guidelines will likely be put in place in opposition to polygamy. Any immigrants practising it, as an illustration, wouldn’t be issued a residence allow.
Suspected pressured marriages is also referred to a prosecutor and legal guidelines can be launched to ensure gender equality in inheritance.
Overseas funding of spiritual organisations
Stricter monetary controls can be put in place on overseas cash despatched to non secular organisations in France, and so-called “anti-putsch” guidelines for non secular associations are designed to permit the federal government to forestall takeovers by “extremists”.
People who obtain overseas financing might want to declare any revenue 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
Larger punishments for offences dedicated in reference to non secular communities embody growing penalties and permitting authorities to shut any locations of worship for as much as two months as a way to cease hate preachers.
People convicted of terrorism would even be banned from main a spiritual affiliation for 10 years.
Extending the ban on non secular symbols
The invoice extends what is thought in France because the “neutrality precept”, which prohibits civil servants from carrying non secular symbols just like the Muslim hijab and voicing political beliefs, past public sector workers to all personal contractors of public companies reminiscent of these working for transport firms.