Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a law against religious “separatism” aimed at freeing Islam in France from “foreign influences”.
Macron outlined new measures to “defend the republic and its values and ensure it respects its promises of equality and emancipation”.
He further elucidated that the measures to combat Islamic radicalism and terrorism suggested a carrot-and-stick approach: local officials will be given extra-legal powers to combat extremism while money will be invested in education – particularly of Islamic culture and civilization – and to deal with other social problems including housing and poverty.
“Our challenge is to fight against those who go off the rails in the name of religion … while protecting those who believe in Islam and are full citizens of the republic,” Macron said.
Some of the measures include placing mosques under greater control and requiring that imams are trained and certified in France. The aim would be to “liberate French Islam from foreign influences”, he said, particularly funding. Islamic organizations that receive funding from the French state will have to sign a “secular charter”.
He further revealed, Associations found to be pushing ideas contrary to republican ideals could be ordered to disband, and €10m (just over £9m) of public funds would be used to finance higher education studies and research into Islamic culture and civilization.
“The country has been hit by Islamic terrorism since 2012 and we have progressively rearmed against this threat. Radical Islamism had shown a “willingness to contravene the laws of the republic, to promote other values to organize another society”.