French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Muslim leaders to accept a “republican chart of values” as part of a broad offensive against radical Islam.
On Wednesday he gave the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) a 15 day ultimatum to accept the letter.
The CFCM has agreed to create a National Council of Imams, which will be in charge of broadcast to the imamis an accreditation official. This recognition could be withdrawn under certain circumstances.
The measure comes after three alleged Islamist attacks in just over a month.
Broadly, the letter will state that Islam is a religion and not a political movement, while also prohibiting “foreign interference” in Muslim groups or associations.
Macron has vigorously defended French secularism in the aftermath of the attacks.
One of the most serious was the beheading last month of a teacher who had shown his students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a debate on freedom of expression.
Late on Wednesday, the president and his interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, met with eight CFCM leaders at the Elysee Palace.
“There are two principles that will be very clear [en la carta]: the rejection of political Islam and any interference foreigner, “a source told the newspaper The Parisian after the conference.
In addition, the formation of the National Council of Imams was agreed.
President Macron has also announced new measures to address what he called “Islamist separatism” in France.
The measures are part of a wide-ranging bill that seeks prevent radicalization.
It was unveiled on Wednesday and includes measures such as:
- Restrictions on homeschooling and more severe punishments for those who intimidate public officials for religious reasons.
- You want to give children an identification number that would be used to guarantee to attend school. Parents who violate the law could face up to six months in jail and heavy fines.
- Ban on share personal information of a person in a way that allows it to be located by people who want to harm it.
“We must save our children from the clutches Islamists, “Darmanin told the newspaper Le Figaro on Wednesday.
The bill will be discussed by the French cabinet on December 9.
Samuel Paty, the teacher who was murdered in front of his school last month, was target of a hate campaign via the internet before the crime on October 16.
The newspaper The world has posted emails that Paty sent to her colleagues in the days after she showed the cartoons in class.
“Is really distressing and particularly disturbing because he comes from a family whose son was not in my class and he is not someone I know, “wrote Paty.
“It is becoming a malicious rumor,” he wrote.
He later wrote in a separate email: “I will not give more classes on this subject; I will choose another freedom as a subject to teach. “
Earlier this year, President Macron described the Islam as a religion “in crisis”.
And he defended the right of magazines to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
These representations are considered a taboo in Islam and many Muslims consider them very offensive.
Following these comments, the French leader unleashed anger in several Muslim-majority countries.
The protesters also asked boycott French products.
In France, state secularism (laïcité) is fundamental within the national identity of the country.
The freedom of expression in schools and other public spaces is part of this principle.
The country believes that setting aside secularism to protect the sentiments of a particular religion undermines national unity.
France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.
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