As Novye Izvestia has already reported, on Wednesday the French government approved a draft law “On strengthening republican principles”, aimed, among other things, at combating radical Islamism. It aims to combat hate speech on the Internet, as well as foreign funding of religious groups.
It is known that already in the first days of his stay at the Elysee Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to draw attention to the problem of Islamic terrorism in the country, but he really did it only after the French teacher was brutally killed and beheaded in October this year for what the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad showed the children in the lesson on freedom of speech. Then Macron in his speech, Macron, among other things, said that "Islam is a religion that is experiencing a crisis all over the world today," adding that there is a need to "free Islam in France from foreign influence."
What will this law actually contain?
Initially, the government planned to make schooling compulsory for children three years of age and older and virtually ban homeschooling for everyone, except for children who have a medical condition. This is also due to the fact that many children from Muslim families, especially girls, studied in radical schools, where, according to Macron, "their education consists of prayer and certain activities".
“Schools should first of all instill the values of the republic, not the values of religion, and educate citizens, not the believers”, - he added.
The government has not given up homeschooling, but now the parents themselves have to apply to the authorities for permission to do so, and the authorities can refuse them.
Exceptions to allow homeschooling include: health problems, intense sports or artistic activities, nomadic family life, or other special circumstances. Moreover, each homeschooling child will be assigned a national identification number, as is already the case for pupils in school, so that authorities can ensure that they receive an education.
Internet hate speech
The legislation plans to prohibit the dissemination of information about someone's private, family or professional life, which allows identifying these people in order to endanger their life. Such violations will be punishable by three years in prison and a fine of up to 45,000 euros.
The punishment will be more severe if it is committed "against a person endowed with state power or who is in the public service".
Supervision of religious practice
Religious groups will have to declare any donation from abroad in the amount of more than 10,000 euros - the purpose of this measure is to reduce foreign influence on places of worship.
It is also expected that local authorities will be empowered to temporarily close any place of worship “in which comments, ideas or theories are disseminated, or actions taken incite discrimination, hatred or violence” against a person or group of people based on racial, ethnic, religious and gender and sexual identity.
Supervision of Religious Groups
The government will also receive greater powers to intervene in the affairs of religious associations: any groups that apply for government subsidies will have to sign an agreement that their activities do not contradict the values of the republic. If it is found that they are violating this agreement, they will be forced to return all the funds received. This measure is intended to ensure that "not a single euro of public money is given to the enemies of the republic".
The government also wants to prescribe a clause stating that illegal actions committed by members of the association and directly related to its activities will temporarily suspend the activities of the group.
The legislation is also aimed at suppressing any behavior that infringes upon the "dignity" of people, especially women.
For example, medical practitioners will be prohibited from issuing so-called "certificates of virginity" - a precondition often required of women before forced marriage. The law also strengthens the government's arsenal of remedies against forced marriage and polygamy.
NGOs can now contact local authorities directly if they have serious suspicions that a woman may be forced into marriage.
Anyone in France with a residence permit can lose it if it turns out that he is polygamous. Legal marriage provides certain advantages, such as pension rights, which women may be deprived of if they happen to be one of several wives.
Any natural or legal person, including contracted private companies representing the government or providing public services, will be required to “ensure that the principles of secularism and the neutrality of the public service are respected”.
In practice, this means, for example, that it will be forbidden to appoint special swimming times for women and men in swimming pools for religious reasons.
Any attempt to intimidate a public service official into granting an exception or partial exception to these rules on the basis of religious beliefs is punishable by five years in prison and a € 75,000 fine.