Hundreds of Churches Threatened by France’s Plan to End Muslim Separatism
As official demands assent that “the law of the Republic is superior to the law of God,” French evangelicals warn attempts to end Islamist terrorism will also end freedom of religion.
Frustrated by years of terrorism inflicted by radical Islamists, France’s parliament is debating a law to end Muslim separatism.
French evangelicals fear their churches will become collateral damage.
“This is the first time, as president of the Protestant Federation of France, that I find myself in the position of defending freedom of worship,” said François Clavairoly.
“I never imagined that in my own country something like this could happen.”
Officially named “the Law to Uphold Republican Principles,” the 459-page bill has been subject to fierce debate this month, receiving over 1,700 proposed amendments.
The aim, interior minister Gerald Darmanin told parliament, is to stop “an Islamist hostile takeover targeting Muslims” that “like gangrene [is] infecting our national unity.” With Muslims often crowded into the many impoverished banlieues of France’s major cities, officials fear imported extremist ideologies lead the religious minority to avoid national integration.
Among the key provisions are greater monitoring of religious associations. Many mosques have ties to the Muslim world, with imams raised and educated in nations without a heritage of human rights and religious freedom.
The bill will prevent non-French citizens from taking control of an association, which will be required to sign a “contract of Republican commitment” ensuring its members honor French values. Foreign funding over $12,000 must be reported to the authorities.
Furthermore, it criminalizes polygamy, forced marriage, and the issuance of “virginity certificates” that Muslims sometimes require of a prospective bride.
The bill seeks to combat the separatist …
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May 18, 2021