France gives ultimatum to French Council of Muslim Faith

Written By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2020, 11:08 PM(IST)

File photo of French President Emmanuel Macron. UK and France are currently sparring over migrant crisis in the English Channel Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The council has been given 15 days and there are signs that the charter will be accepted


French President Emmanuel Macron has given an ultimatum to French Council of Muslim Faith. Earlier this week. Macron along with French interior minister met leaders of French Council of Muslim Faith and requested them to accept a charter that seeks to oppose political Islam. The council has been given 15 days and there are signs that the charter will be accepted.

The council has already agreed to set up a national body in France that will oversee accredition of Imams in the country.

Through the charter, France wants to underline two things

  1. Islam is a religion and not a political movement
  2. There will be no foreign interference among French Muslim communities

Sentiments in France and Muslim countries have run high ever since the terror attacks over caricatures of Prophet Mohammed took place in recent months. France has been firm on its stand saying that it will guard values of the republic while there have been calls to boycott French goods in Muslim countries.

On Friday, Macron even accused Turkey and Russia of promoting anti-French sentiment in Africa by funding people who whip-up resentment against France through media.

Macron's government has also prepared a bill to prevent radicalisation. This was proposed earlier this year. Some tough measures have been proposed. Homeschooling will be restricted to discourage Madrasa styled education. There is provision for harsh punishment for those who intimidate public officials on legal grounds. The proposed law also wants children to have an identification number. A number that can be used to ensure that they are attending school. Parents who will break this law could face up to six months in prison, as well as large fines.

Macron's crackdown on radical Islam is being welcomed but he is getting his share of criticism too. 

As per a new security law tabled by his government, filming the police will be banned. Anyone found in violation of the provision can be fined up to USD 53,000 and/or sent to jail for a year.

Also Read | Turkey and Russia promoting anti-France sentiment, says Emmanuel Macron

 Those critcising the provision are saying that it will limit free speech. Journalists are slamming the prosposal.

French interior minister defended his government in French parliament. 

"Journalists will be able to film, citizens will be able to film. What we don't want is calls to murder. We may have a difference on this point, but let's also debate normally by reading the text without fantasy," he said.

However, his assurances seem hollow. Because when he was defending the proposal in parliament --- there were protests outside the french national assembly. 

A journalist who was covering the demonstration was arrested for filming protests. As per reports, the journalist was arrested even after he presented his credentials to the law enforcement officials.

Journalists and human rights groups took to the streets this week in Paris to voiced their opposition for the proposed security law. They said that citizens could lose their powers to keep the powerful in check.

Local police may get more autonomy because of the new security law. There is also talk of expanding the use of surveillance drones in high crime areas.

 

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