PARENTS in France who home school their children could be jailed for six months under new laws cracking down on Islamist extremism.
The legislation aims to prevent children from being brainwashed amid growing fears that extremists are trying to create a separate society for Muslims.
It comes after President Emmanuel Macron pledged a crackdown on radical Islamists following the beheading of Professor Samuel Paty last month.
Currently, around 50,000 children in France are home schooled.
Ministers say some Muslims refuse to allow children to go to school – and girls in particular are denied an education.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin declared: “In some regions, there are more boys than girls (at school) when we know that statistically, more girls are born. It is a scandal.
A bill unveiled yesterday makes it a crime to teach children at home – unless going to school is “impossible for reasons related to the situation (of the child) or that of the family” .
Parents who break the law face a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine of € 7,500.
To enforce the ban, each child in France will now be assigned an identification number.
Muslim and Catholic schools will still be allowed but will be subject to tighter controls, ministers said.
Principals who do not respect secular French values could be jailed for up to a year under the new law.
Other new measures include ensuring that schools can resist radical demands to tone down religious or sex education classes.
Local councils will have the power to deny separate bathing times for men and women, mosques will be forced to reveal foreign funds, and police will prosecute people for hate speech online.
This is part of Mr Macron’s broader crackdown on attempts by extremists to impose “Islamist separatism” in parts of France.
The president says there has been a “conscious political project” aimed at creating a “counter-society” that obeys Islamic law.
He also wants to fight against the terrorism which results from it.
Of the 30 most recent terrorists who committed killings on French soil, some 22 were of local origin, according to the Interior Ministry.
Last month, Mr Darmanin said he was taking action to expel 231 suspected radicals on an extremist watchlist.
It followed the murder of Mr. Paty in front of his school near Paris by a teenage Chechen refugee.
The teacher was reportedly targeted after a campaign by Muslim parents who were angry about showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a lesson on free speech.
Less than two weeks later, a church director and two worshipers were murdered by a Tunisian terrorist in Nice.
Physical education teacher fired for getting drunk and flashing breasts at prom
Chase the missing Coatbridge boy who hit his head and ‘acted out of character’
Balls and bubbles
Scots could be placed in Christmas ‘bubbles’ to allow mixing with family
Scottish Council launches investigation after hardcore porn shared by school’s Twitter account
MOBS ON THE MOVE
Itinerant crime gangs raid 19 care homes across Scotland during pandemic
Scots could face January lockdown after Christmas if FM follows Four Nations approach
Mr Macron’s harsh words about Islamism sparked anger in the Muslim world, with large protests in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that France treated Muslims as badly as Jews were persecuted in the 1930s.
And ISIS called on its supporters to launch attacks against France in revenge.