France passed the anti-separatism bill, which activists say disproportionately targets the country’s Muslim community.
While the bill says it is designed to preserve France’s “republican values”, it has a dominant impact on aspects of education, social and religious life, women’s rights, creation and management of religious associations.
It prohibits polygamy or forced marriages, the issuance of certificates of virginity, the transparency of places of worship and the prohibition of political meetings in a religious building, among others.
Activists say the bill has already hit the Muslim community, with large waves of Islamophobic acts reported across the country. Critics argue that the bill distinguishes France’s Muslim community – the largest in Europe.
The bill may have to go through the Constitutional Council – the highest constitutional authority that has the right to override the provisions of approved bills.
Several French parties opposed the text and threatened to commit to an overthrow of the Council for discrimination.
During Friday’s discussion, socialist politician and leader of the La France Insoumise party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, tried to launch a motion to reject the bill, which he called Islamophobic and contrary to values. French. The motion was challenged by lawmakers.
After his motion was rejected, Melenchon tweeted that the bill “invents a hollow and vague concept: separatism.”
He added that it was shameful that hours were spent discussing “the veil, the burkini, foreign flags at weddings and even hooters” with the raging pandemic.
Recently, the French Senate voted to ban girls under 18 from wearing the hijab in public. The hijab is a headscarf worn by many Muslim women and has been the subject of a decades-long feud in France.