The French government has submitted yet another controversial bill for parliamentary discussion: the law ‘On strengthening republican principles’, directed primarily against radical Islam. According to the bill, the right to homeschooling of children will be limited, imams will be required to study in France, and the funding of religious associations from abroad will be subject to increased control. In addition, it is planned to toughen penalties for incitement to hatred and illegal publication of personal data. The press criticizes the government’s initiative — and gives a variety of reasons.
This is naive and wrong
It is quite understandable why this bill has caused so much controversy in the Muslim environment, writes journalist Julian Chifu on the pages of Adevarul:
“The very idea that a phenomenon so deeply rooted in society [namely, radical Islamism] can be defeated legally, with the help of prohibitions and sanctions, is clear evidence of amateurism and inability to assess the situation. … Social phenomena are fought not with the help of laws, but by directly eliminating their socio-economic causes. In this case, it was the rejection of the Muslim community and the lack of its integration into French society that forced Muslims and immigrants to create their own rules and methods of survival — often on the verge of the law, or even beyond the line. It was this state of affairs that paved the way for terrorism and confrontation.“
Again missed the mark
As political scientist Olivier Roy notes in his article in the newspaper El Pais, it is not clear how all this has to do with terrorism:
“With this law, the authorities intend to ban homeschooling and tighten control over private religious schools, as well as ban polygamy and the practice of issuing certificates of virginity. Okay. Now let’s ask ourselves: if such measures had been taken 20 years ago, could this have prevented terrorist attacks? If you look at the biographies of the terrorists, the answer is clear: no. All terrorists who committed terrorist attacks in France attended public schools. None of them were homeschooled, none grew up in a polygamous family. As far as virginity certificates are concerned, I don’t see any connection with terrorism. Girls who hold radical views (and their number has been growing since 2012) are by no means examples of piety.”