IslamNews – Lawmakers in the French parliament’s lower house on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs to safeguard France from radical Islamists and to promote respect for French values – one of President Emmanuel Macron’s landmark projects.
After two weeks of intense debate, the vote in the National Assembly house was the first critical hurdle for the legislation that has been long in the making. The bill passed 347-151, with 65 abstentions.
With France bloodied by terror attacks, having hundreds of citizens who went to Syria in years past and thousands of French troops now fighting extremists in Mali, few disagree that radicalization is a danger. But critics also see the proposed law as a political ploy to lure the right wing to Macron’s centrist party ahead of next year’s presidential election.
The wide-ranging bill, titled “Supporting respect for the principles of the Republic,” covers most aspects of French life. It has been hotly contested by some Muslims, lawmakers and others who fear the state is intruding on essential freedoms and pointing a finger at Islam, the nation’s No. 2 religion.
But the legislation breezed through a chamber in which Macron’s party has a majority. It is not set to go to the conservative-controlled Senate until March 30, but final passage is seen as all but assured.