France

French Lawmakers Approve Bill To Fight “Islamist Separatism”

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The lower house of France’s parliament has passed a bill tabled to fight against “Islamic separatism” on Tuesday. This bill provides more rights for religious groups to control. Religious groups say the government is weakening the secular nature of the state.

On Tuesday, the lower house of France’s parliament passed on Tuesday after voting on a bill that gives the government more powers to monitor mosques and religious schools and prohibits polygamy and forced marriages, along with other measures aimed at eliminating Islamic radicalization. President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party voted in favor of the legislation by 347 lawmakers from the National Assembly, while 151 opposed and 65 lawmakers did not vote.

The bill is part of broader French efforts to fight extremism in recent years, gaining talons after a teacher was beheaded in October and other attacks. The bill provides for government surveillance of mosques and religious schools, and a ban on polygamy and forced marriages aimed at rooting out Islamic fundamentalism.

“Transcending fundamentalism in some communities also requires more steps of efforts to protect French values gender equality and secularism,” President Emmanuel Macron said. But many French Muslims say the draft law limits religious freedom and unfairly targets them and said France already has enough laws to fight terrorist violence. Critics say it is a political maneuver bill for Macron to win next year’s presidential election to win support from conservative and far-flung voters.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party voted in favor of the legislation by 347 lawmakers from the National Assembly, while 151 opposed and 65 lawmakers did not vote.

The bill will now be submitted to the upper house Senate, where Macron’s party does not have a majority. Interior Minister Gerald Dermanin told RTL radio ahead of Tuesday’s vote. “It’s a tough law… But the Republic is essential. “This is a very strong secular offensive.” The bill’s draft provisions new powers to the state to limit Muslims and religious groups in the bill.

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