Macron says Islam is “in crisis”, provoking backlash from Muslims | France


President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values ​​against what he called “Islamist radicalism,” saying religion was “in crisis” around the world, prompting a reaction from Muslim activists.In a long-awaited speech on Friday, Macron insisted that “no concessions” would be made in a new campaign to push religion out of education and the public sector in France.

“Islam is a religion in crisis all over the world today, we don’t see it only in our country,” he said.

He announced that the government would introduce a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.

The measures, Macron said, were aimed at solving a problem of growing “radicalization” in France and improving “our ability to live together.”

“Secularism is the glue of a united France,” he insisted, but added that there was no point in stigmatizing all Muslim believers.

The law allows people to belong to any religion they choose, Macron said, but outside manifestations of religious affiliation would be banned in schools and the civil service.

Wearing the hijab is already prohibited in French schools and for civil servants in their workplace.

Macron’s speech led to a debate on social media.

Yasser Louati, a French Muslim activist, tweeted: “The crackdown on Muslims has been a threat, now it’s a promise. In an hour-long speech, #Macron buried #laicite, emboldened right-wing anti-Muslim leftists and threatened the lives of Muslim students by calling for drastic limits on home schooling despite a global pandemic .

Rim-Sarah Alaoune, a French scholar, tweeted: “President Macron described Islam as ‘a religion in crisis around the world today’. I don’t even know what to say. This remark is so stupid (sorry) that it does not need to be analyzed in more detail… I will not hide that I am worried. No mention of white supremacy even though we are the country that exported the racist and white supremacist “great replacement” theory used by the terrorist who committed the horrific #Christchurch massacre.

Iyad el-Baghdadi, writer and activist based in Norway, simply wrote on Twitter; “F *** you, @EmmanuelMacron.”

In his speech, Macron also claimed that he sought to “liberate” Islam in France from foreign influences by improving oversight of mosque funding.

There would also be a closer examination of schools and associations serving exclusively religious communities.

France is reassessing its relations with its Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

Just last month, a French parliamentarian from Macron’s La République en Marche party staged a strike against the presence of a hijab-clad student union leader in a parliamentary inquiry.

This incident was preceded a week earlier by another controversy, involving a French journalist who retweeted a post by a young Muslim influencer on low budget cooking with the caption “September 11”, in reference to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

Macron was speaking Friday a week after a man attacked two people with a meat cleaver outside the former Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, an assault condemned by the government as an act of “Islamist terrorism.”

Charlie Hebdo staff were killed in January 2015 by gunmen seeking revenge for the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Members of the Muslim community in France have consistently denounced these acts, describing them as going against the precepts of their religion.


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