The French Government’s Steps Seem to Be Influenced by Islamophobia
1. The government also inspected 24,000 cultural and religious organizations
2. 30 mosques have been closed on charges of harbouring extremists.
3. The government closed 650 NGOs and other religious organizations for allegedly harbouring extremists.
By New Age Islam Correspondent
1 October 2021
(Photo courtesy: aa.com)
After the killing of a history teacher Samuel Paty by a Muslim youth in October last year, the French government went out to crush Islamic extremism in the country. French President Macron even went ahead and said that Islam as a whole was going through a crisis. This prompted the French government take a number of steps to curb extremism in the country. His government launched a drive against Muslims and their places of worship apart from NGOs and religious organizations in the country.
Now according to the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, out of 89 inspected mosques, one third, that is, 30 mosques have been closed on charges of harbouring extremists. 6 more mosques will be closed in near future. The inspections had started in November 2020.
Apart from the mosques, the government closed 650 NGOs and other religious organizations for allegedly harbouring extremists. A total of 24,000 places were inspected by the French police.
It is also to be noted that the construction of a mosque Eyup Sultan in Strasbourg has been halted by the government though the organisers of the mosque had acquired approval from the French authorities.
The Anti-Separatism Law has been passed amid opposition from the opposition in August this year. Under the law, organizations promoting political Islam are under the government scanner. Five political organizations have been closed on the charges of promoting political Islam and some ten more organizations may be closed in near future.
It is a fact that in France, radical elements and members of hardline Islamic organizations had been promoting extremism among the French Muslim youth. Their extremism on the other hand promoted Islamophobia. The Anti-Separatism Law intends to curb political Islam which these extremist organizations promoted. But the opposition of the French and the Leftists and also the UN feels that this law will further ghettoize and marginalize Muslims.
The law prevents home schooling for Muslim children. This will put a hurdle on basic Islamic education of Muslim children at home. This a violation of religious rights of Muslims. This is also a interference with the private life of citizens.
Another section of the law prohibits patients from choosing doctors based on gender for religious reasons.
These laws are a violation of personal rights of citizens and the opposition as well as human rights bodies have criticized these laws as an infringement of minority rights.
That the French government has found 30 out of 89 mosques to be harbouring extremists seems to be a drive influenced by Islamophobia. It would mean that one third of the mosques had been harbouring extremists. This seems unrealistic because if it is true then where are the extremists? The government has not shown any arrest of the extremists and terrorists.
The government also inspected 24,000 cultural and religious organizations and out of them 650 has been closed. This also seems to be based on Islamophobia. It is should be noted that the government has already mechanism and laws for monitoring of institutions of minorities. It is intriguing why the government has found so many mosques and organizations promoting political Islam and extremism.
The government claims that the legislation is intended to strengthen France's secular system, but critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.
It also restricts the educational choices of Muslims by making homeschooling subject to official permission.
Under the law, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctors based on gender for religious or other reasons, and "secularism education" has been made compulsory for all civil servants.
France has been criticized by international organizations and NGOs, especially the UN, for targeting and marginalizing Muslims with the law.
Every country has the right to ensure its security but making laws that targets or marginalizes its minority, particularly Muslims should not be supported. Extremism and terrorism should be fought but not by alienating the entire Muslim community and painting the whole community black but by taking them along in this fight. The steps that the French government have taken in the name of fighting extremism and political Islam will only further spread Islamophobia and further promote ghettoisation among Muslims and create among the patriotic French Muslims a sense of victimhood and insecurity.
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