Emmanuel Macron has announced a law against religious dissociation aimed at freeing Islam in France from foreign influences. President Macron met with members of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) on Wednesday where he asked Muslim leaders to agree a “charter of republican values” as part of a broad restraint on radical Islam. France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe’s. In France, state secularism is central to the country’s national identity. Freedom of expression in schools and other public spaces is part of that, and curbing it to protect the feelings of a particular religion is seen as a necessary thing to intact the national unity. President Macron has strongly defended French secularism, freedom of expression and speech in the wake of the attacks.
The issue of the effects of Islamism has been a persistent one in France, amid fears of the kinds of terrorist attacks the country has faced in recent years, putting pressure on the government. Many of the proposals from Macron administration were ideas that had been floated in the past or ones he had already approved. His speech assembled it all into a comprehensive package that the government is expected to present as a bill in December.
Earlier this year, President Macron described Islam as a religion in need of help and in crisis. He defended the right of magazines to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a freedom of expression. Such depictions are widely regarded as taboo in Islam and are considered highly offensive by many Muslims and direct attack to their religion and hurting the sentiments.
The French government demanded that the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) accept two basic principles that are part of the charter; the rejection of political Islam and all foreign interference. While these measures would apply to any group, they are intended to counter extremists in the Muslim community. The formation of the National Council of Imams was also agreed upon. He gave the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) 15 days to work with the interior ministry.
The measures include restrictions on home-schooling and harsher punishments for those who intimidate public officials on religious grounds. Giving children an identification number under the law that would be used to ensure they are attending school. Parents who break the law could face up to six months in jail as well as large fines. A ban will be held on sharing the personal information of a person in a way that allows them to be located by people who want to harm them.
The measures also include placing mosques under greater control and requiring that imams are trained and certified in France. Islamic organizations that receive funding from the French state will have to sign a secular charter. Associations found to be pushing ideas contrary to republican ideals could be ordered to disband, and just over £9m of public funds would be used to finance higher education studies and research into Islamic culture and civilization.
President Macron calls radical Islam both an “ideology” and a “project” that sought to indoctrinate children. He said that radicalization undermine France’s values. Especially when it came to gender equality and it create a “counter-society” that collides with everything and sometimes with itself.
The measures to combat radical Islamism and terrorism suggested a constructive approach: local officials will be given extra legal powers to combat extremism while money will be invested in education, particularly of Islamic culture and civilization and to deal with other social problems including housing and poverty.
Macron while addressing the issue of radicalization of the religion Islam further said that, our challenge is to fight against those who go off the rails in the name of religion, while protecting those who believe in Islam, respect other point of views and are full citizens of the republic.
Macron announced extra funding for the country’s education and justice ministries to assure a republican presence in every road, every building. Macron further added that education is the key to the measures against extremism and the tolerance of second opinion. He further added that from September next year children would be required to attend school from the age of three. Home schooling is to be limited.
That is an issue connected with people straight through the heart. What associations in France had done and how secularism is coined there to insult the sentiments of believers of Islam can extract severe circumstances for France, but these steps taken can prove to be constructive, substantive and long term.