The controversial move by French President Emmanuel Macron to impose a “Charter of Republican Value” on the Muslim community and to allocate “identification numbers” exclusively to Muslim children has sparked a new debate.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the French president has given the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) a 15-day deadline to accept the charter.
In this regard, the eight leaders of the CFCM also met with Emmanuel Macron and Interior Minister Jorald Darmenin on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, the CFCM agreed to set up a national council of imams that would officially approve all imams living on French soil and could be withdrawn in case of violation.
The French president’s charter states that Islam is a religion, not a political movement, and that “foreign interference” in Muslim groups will be banned.
The French government also unveiled a large-scale bill aimed at curbing radicalization.
In the name of curbing extremism, the charter includes measures that would ban home-based education and provide identification numbers to school-going children to ensure their attendance and parents who break the law Imprisonment for up to 6 months and heavy fines.
The bill will be debated in the French cabinet next month, including a proposal for harsher punishments for those who intimidate government officials on religious grounds.
These new measures continue to be sharply criticized on social media.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Minister Shirin Mazari said that “Macron is treating Muslims the same way the Nazis treated Jews.”
She added that Jews in Nazi Germany were also “forced to wear a yellow star on their clothes for identification.”
Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews – Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won't) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification. https://t.co/YdP2L3flJS
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 21, 2020
Writer Fatima Bhutto expressed shock at the French government’s actions, saying that Macron’s charter was “one of coercion and suspicion and is utterly contemptuous, sickening and dangerous.”
When the Nazis wanted to isolate and police a population they didn’t feel belonged, represented or believed in the values of their state they had them wear yellow stars. @EmmanuelMacron’s charter is one of coercion and suspicion & is utterly contemptuous, sickening and dangerous
— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) November 21, 2020
The American Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) has strongly criticized Emmanuel Macron for imposing his own “interpretation of Islamic beliefs” on French Muslim leaders.
The CAIR called the French government’s campaign against Islam “hypocritical and dangerous.”
Naheed, CAIR’s executive director, said the French president should not reconsider his actions so that his nation would not return to colonial racism and religious bigotry, which for centuries frightened many European nations.
American actor Charlie Carver called the French government’s actions Islamophobic.
Children given an IDENTIFICATION #?!
Did some reading up on “Laïcité” and this… No. This is Islamophobia masquerading as “secularism”. Well beyond the line.
France, I’ve loved you so, and therefore must call you out: DO BETTER. Fear is not the answer. https://t.co/VrTjaHqUR2
— Charlie Carver (@Charlie_Carver) November 21, 2020
Controversial statement by the French President
A teacher at a school in France this month showed blasphemous sketches published in 2006 by the controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo during the freedom of expression lesson.
A few days later, a man beheaded the teacher, who was shot dead by police on the spot, and the case was linked to a terrorist organization.
Following the incident, the French president called the teacher who showed the blasphemous sketches a “hero” and embodied the values of the French Republic, and awarded him France’s highest civilian honour.
The French president himself attended the teacher’s last rites in Paris, after which he displayed the blasphemous sketches published by Charlie Hebdo for several hours on town hall buildings in two French cities.
This is not the first time that an anti-Islamic statement has been made by a French president. Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled plans to defend France against secular “fundamentalist Islam”. He also made anti-Islamic remarks.
Emmanuel Macron unveiled a plan to “defend” France’s secular values against “fundamentalist Islam” and announced tighter surveillance of schools and better control of foreign funding for mosques.
He named countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and stressed the need to “liberate Islam from foreign influences” in France.
To that end, he said, the government would investigate foreign funding for mosques and ban imams from going abroad for training or hosting foreign preachers on French soil.
In response, scholars at Egypt’s leading Islamic institution, Al-Azhar University, called French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement on “Islamist separatism” “racist” and “hateful.”
Earlier last month, after the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, re-published the blasphemous sketches, Emmanuel Macron said that there was freedom of expression in France and that there was no ruling on Charlie Hebdo’s decision to publish the blasphemous sketches.