French National Assembly (lower house of parliament) passed an overwhelming majority on the 16th to strengthen supervision of mosques, schools and sports clubs to protect France from extreme Islamists and enhance France’s influence.
Respect for Values – One of President Macron’s signature plans.
After two weeks of heated debate, the vote of the National Assembly is the first key obstacle to this long-simmering bill.
The bill was passed by 347 votes to 151, with 65 abstentions.
With terrorists causing multiple bloodshed in France and hundreds of French citizens going to Syria in the past few years, few people have disputed the increasing danger of radicalization.
But critics also believe that the proposed law is a political strategy aimed at attracting right-wingers to Macron’s centrist party before next year’s presidential election.
The report said that the extensive bill, entitled “Supporting Respect for the Principles of the Republic”, covered most aspects of French life.
It was reported to be met with fierce opposition from some Muslims, parliamentarians and others who feared that France was violating basic freedoms and targeting Islam, France’s second largest religion.
The report pointed out that the bill was easily passed in the National Assembly, which has a majority of seats in Macron’s party.
It will not be submitted to the conservative-controlled Senate until March 30, but its final passage is almost certain.
The passage of the bill became more urgent because a teacher was beheaded on the outskirts of Paris last October, and a knife-wieling attack on a church in Nice killed three people in the same month.
The report also pointed out that the bill makes it an offence to deliberately endanger the lives of others by providing details about their private lives and locations.