French lawmakers propose Muslim Brotherhood ban, measures to ‘combat radical Islam’

Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio in 2003. (AFP)

French lawmakers have proposed banning clerics affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood from preaching, as part of 44 propositions set out counter “Islamist” radicalization in the country, according to a government document obtained by French daily Le Figaro.

The report also suggests stricter laws for cultural associations, schools, and funds sent to organizations – particularly from abroad.

According to the proposals, cultural associations should be required to declare funds sent from abroad to increase transparency. Additionally, anyone who wants to benefit from subsidies from local authorities must “sign a charter demonstrating respect for the values of the Republic.”

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The senators urged for the creation of a database of home-schooled students and students in non-contract schools to verify the training of their teachers. Non-contract schools – or a school that doesn’t have a contract with the government – are free to set their own curriculums.

The commission also underlined the necessity of knowing the identity of all employees in contact with minors, and to “extend the scope of administrative investigations to recruitment and assignment decisions.”

“Radical Islamism is polymorphic, and it is found in all aspects of social life and tends to put in place a new social norm that is more prevalent than individually liberty,” Le Figaro reported the document as saying.

The report, which Le Figaro shared the details of on Thursday, was the product of a Parliamentary commission comprised of around 30 senators that interviewed key stakeholders, researchers and politicians responsible to highlight the largest threats that face France.

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The report discusses “the reality of Islamist radicalization in France and its repercussions on society.”

“We pose a subject to society: all of France, except the west, is touched by radical Islam,” said senator Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio. “Today, in France, people are placed under house arrest in the name of a religious norm. We don’t have to accept this. It is now or never that we must react.”

The 44 propositions relate to economic, education, social and cultural issues to help the country face the mounting issues and to “stop the preaching machine,” Le Figaro wrote, quoting the report. The MPs behind the policy draft suggested better training on secularism and radical Islam for local elected representatives and for those who work in public administration.

“France, that is not an assembly of minorities, but rather is one nation, cannot have a doctrine of reasonable accommodation,” the commission said.

Eustache-Brinio said she worries about the “spread of behavior that calls into question living alongside each other, and those that directly affect freedom of conscience, and equality between men and women and the rights of gay people.”

“Beyond places of culture, we are witnessing in certain areas an Islamist ecosystem emerging where we live ourselves.”

France has for years struggled to integrate Muslims into the country, with one of the most notable examples being the 2010 “burka ban” that was upheld in 2014 that prohibits women from wearing full-face veils.

In mid-2016, there were about 5.7 million Muslims in France, making up 8.8 percent of the country’s population, according to Pew Research.

France has tried to create a French brand of Islam since the 1980s, the Atlantic reported in 2018.

Politicians from current President Emmanuel Macron to former President Francois Hollande have aimed to integrate the country’s Muslim minority and fight extremism.

“Ironically, past attempts to codify a sort of French Islam—transforming Islam in France to an Islam of France—have been deeply entangled with French Muslims’ countries of origin, especially Morocco, Algeria, and Turkey. In 2015, for example, then-President François Hollande signed a deal with the Moroccan monarchy to send French imams to a training institute in Rabat,” The Atlantic article read.

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Last Update: Thursday, 09 July 2020 KSA 16:08 - GMT 13:08
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