French lawmakers in the parliament’s lower house, on Tuesday, overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for rigorous surveillance in mosques, religious associations, schools and sports clubs to prevent radical Islamism from rising, as well as promoting traditionally ‘French’ values. The legislation has reportedly been long in the making, with it finally getting passed by a score of 347-151, while 65 lawmakers refused to vote, AFP reported.
‘Supporting respect for the principles of the Republic’, as the bill is essentially named in English, covers a wide range of topics and secures under its ambit almost all of French public and private life.
The bill has been contested with strong perspectives, both by sections of Muslims and those who fear that the state is interfering to a great extent in peoples’ personal lives.
"It's an extremely strong secular offensive. It's a tough text... but necessary for the republic", AFP quoted Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin as saying to WTL Radio regarding the move.
With more than 70 separate articles existing in the bill, not only does the law grant the state to have oversight over religious schools and places of worship, but also close them and ban extremist preachers.
The passing of the bill comes ahead of next year’s elections as well as divisions in the country regarding a substantial Muslim population and fresh Islamist threat.
Reportedly, French President Emmanuel Macron and Darmanin have both been accused, in recent days, of catering to far-right voters through an exaggeration of threats posed by marginalised groups usuallt living in suburbs of France.