The France government, continuing with it’s zero-tolerance towards Islamist radicalism, has unveiled a draft law on Wednesday targetting extremism. This project was prompted by the French President Emmanuel Macron to root out what he calls “separatists” undermining the nation. This law is a result of the various attacks carried out by radical Islamists in the country including the gruesome beheading of a teacher- Samuel Paty by an Islamist amidst chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Paris in October this year.
After the Samuel Paty beheading incident, the French President Emmanuel Macron had stated that a bill would be tabled in the Parliament to fight homegrown Islamic separatism within Muslim communities in the country.
The law was in the pipeline before the murder in October of Samuel Paty, who was attacked in the street and beheaded after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a civics class. But the killing, committed by an 18-year-old radicalised Islamist after a virulent social media campaign against the teacher, gave new impetus to the bill. It prompted the inclusion of the specific crimes of online hate speech and divulging personal information on the internet.
The bill “supporting Republican principles” would tighten restrictions on online hate speech and ban the use of the internet to maliciously reveal personal details about other people. The law also bans “clandestine” schools that promote Islamist ideology and tightens rules on home-schooling.
It would also reinforce the ban on polygamy by refusing residency to polygamous applicants. Doctors could be fined or banned for performing virginity tests on girls.
The bill also extends what is known in France as the “neutrality principle”, which prohibits civil servants from wearing ostentatious religious symbols like the Muslim headscarf and voicing political views, beyond public sector employees to all private contractors of public services.
There are new rules on financial transparency for Muslim associations and a requirement that they sign up to France’s republican values in return for funding.
Moreover, a ban on officials wearing religious attire at work is being extended to transport workers and staff at swimming pools and markets.
Introducing the draft law to fight separatism, Prime Minister Jean Castex stressed that it “is not a text against religion in particular.” Instead, he said, it is “a bill of freedom, a bill of protection, a bill of emancipation from Islamist fundamentalism” or other ideologies pursuing the same goals.
French Govt prepares to expel 231 religious extremists from the country
The French government has decided to come down heavily on suspected Islamic extremists in the country. Merely two days after the brutal beheading of Samuel Paty reports suggested that France had been preparing to expel 231 radicalized foreign national.
It was reported that more than 850 illegal immigrants are registered to the File of Alerts for the Prevention of Terrorist Attacks (FSPRT). Out of 231 fundamentalists in the FSPRT who will be deported, 180 people are currently in prison and 51 were due to be arrested.
France defines extremists as “people who, engaged in a process of radicalisation, are likely to want to go abroad to join terrorist groups or take part in terrorist activities”.
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.