France votes on anti-radicalism bill that worries Muslims

France's lower house of parliament is voting on a bill that would strengthen government oversight of mosques and religious schools and crack down on polygamy and forced marriage

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 16 February 2021 08:36
France Protest
France Protest

France’s lower house of parliament is voting Tuesday on a bill that would strengthen government oversight of mosques and religious schools and crack down on polygamy and forced marriage, among other measures aimed at rooting out Islamic radicalism.

The bill is part of broader French efforts to fight extremism in recent years that gained new urgency after a teacher was beheaded in October and other attacks. President Emmanuel Macron says the efforts are also needed to protect French values like gender equality and secularism from encroaching fundamentalism in some communities.

But many French Muslims say the draft law limits religious freedom and unfairly targets them, and say France already has enough laws to fight terrorist violence. Critics call the bill a political maneuver by Macron to win support from conservative and far-right voters ahead of next year’s presidential election.

The bill is expected to win approval in the National Assembly, which is dominated by Macron's centrist party, as well as the conservative-led Senate.