Macron’s Laws: It was a bill designed according to the Government to reinforce French egalitarian values. Introduced by President Macron in 2020, to combat what he called a growing sense of separatism in some communities.
Emmanuel Macron (French President)
”There is a desire, Openly Stated, a methodical organization which aims to break the rules of the French republic and to create a parallel order. with other values, nurturing a different organization for society.”
It was the mentions of Islam in his speech. that caused the law to be seen as a criticism of the Muslim Community. Something the government strongly denied.
Jean Castex (French Prime Minister)
”This bill is not a text against religions, nor against the Muslim religion in particular. On the contrary, it is a law of freedom, it is a law of protection.”
By the time the law came to be passed, it had been re-worded with no mention of the word Islam. Although that didn’t stop protests against the law from taking place. The legislation allowed the government to exert more control over charities and NGOs as well as homeschooling. And gave them the power to close places of worship if they were deemed a threat. It also gave rise to concern in the Muslim Community. The laws were seen by many as legitimizing existing prejudices.
Safe Bounaidja (Social Psychologist)
”After the law was passed we started to see a lot of people experiencing anti-Muslim and anti-Islam actions from people surrounding them. It could’ve been at work or like in the street.”
France has a Muslim population of over 5 million. The largest of any European nation. Many feel they are an easy target for politicians. Blamed collectively for the violent actions of a few.
About some see Macron’s laws as being anti-muslim in nature others see them as being purely political. Something he needed to do in order to protect the state.
Giles Abergel (Republican Secularism Committee)
”This is mostly a law of public order, not itself a law about religion or secularism. It is a law about religion being used as a political tool. A law was needed because the number of incidents involving the political use of Islam was way too much on the rise. We will see now how it is enforced.”
There is also an awareness that things could be far worse. Candidates like Eric Zemmour a man with a history of making racist and anti-Muslim comments are drawing large support. A wider concern is that the far-right, represented by Zemmour and Marine Le Pen. could attract up to 30% of the vote, in the first round of the French election.