For months the French government has continually raised concerns about what it sees as the dangers of “Islamic separatism” in the country and has brought in legislation to tackle it. Yet when in the wake of a major report on child sex abuse in the French Catholic Church a senior bishop suggested that the secrets of the confessional were stronger than the “Republic's laws” there was at first a deafening silence from government ministers. This reluctance to comment came on top of the government's clear embarrassment at the publication of the sex abuse report itself, a document which produced shocking figures on the extent of the scandal in the church. Ellen Salvi reports.
Councillors in Strasbourg have just voted through a 2.5 million euro grant to help build a new mosque in the city in north-east France, a region where unlike the rest of the country the law permits local authorities to fund religious buildings. However, the move by the Green-run council immediately attracted the ire of France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin because the group behind the mosque, Confédération Islamique Milli Görüs (CIMG), is a Franco-Turkish association which has refused to sign the government's new “charter of principles” for Islam in France. The minister, who is championing the government's new law against 'separatism', is now threatening legal action. Report by Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard of Mediapart's partners in the city, Rue 89 Strasbourg.
by Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard (Rue 89 Strasbourg)
President Emmanuel Macron has championed measures against Islamic 'separatism' in French society, and legislation on the issue is currently going through the country's Parliament. This controversial move has handed Turkey's combative president Recep Tayyip Erdogan a fresh opportunity to portray himself as the leading Muslim leader standing up against Western Islamophobia. But as Nicolas Cheviron reports from Istanbul, behind the geopolitical considerations, Franco-Turkish Muslims have genuine concerns about the new measures in France.
The French parliament's lower house, the National Assembly, has approved by a clear majority legislation presented as a needy curb of the 'separatism' of radical Islamist activities, expanding state powers to close places of worship and religious schools, and to ban extremist preachers, while opponents say it further stigmatises Muslims and limits free speech.
Demonstrators protested in Paris on Sunday against draft legislation to be put to a vote in parliament on Tuesday which the government says is aimed against Islamic 'separatism' and which includes restricting clandestine schooling and foreign funding of religious activities, and increasing powers to crackdown on hate speech both online and in mosques.