French president Emmanuel Macron has on Friday unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values against what he termed as “Islamist radicalism”.
Macron in an address aimed at solving a problem of growing “radicalisation” in the country and improving “our ability to live together” said the measures include placing mosques under greater control and requiring that imams are trained and certified in France. The aim would be to “liberate French Islam from foreign influences”, he said, particularly funding.
He said radical Islam was a danger to France because it held its own laws above all others and “often results in the creation of a counter-society”. Islamic organizations that receive funding from the French state will have to sign a “secular charter”.
The French president insisted “no concessions” would be made in a new drive to push religion out of education and the public sector in France.
Macron said “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country,” adding that this form of sectarianism often translated into children being kept out of school, and the use of sporting, cultural and other community activities as a “pretext to teach principles that do not conform to the laws of the republic”.
He said secularism is the cement of a united France,” but added that there was no sense in stigmatising all Muslim believers.
He announced that the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.
The law permits people to belong to any faith of their choosing, Macron said, but outward displays of religious affiliation would be banned in schools and the public service.
Muslims in France have roundly condemned the violence, and some reacted angrily to Macron’s proposals on Friday.
Reacting to the president’s speech, Yasser Louati, a French Muslim activist, tweeted “The repression of Muslims has been a threat, now it is a promise. In a one hour speech #Macron burried #laicite, emboldened the far right, anti-Muslim leftists and threatened the lives of Muslim students by calling for drastic limits on home schooling despite a global pandemic.”
France has the largest population of Muslims in Western Europe. Many complain the authorities use secularism to specifically target them, for instance in banning the hijab.
Islam is increasingly seen as a threat to France’s core values in the wake of several terror attacks targeting secular liberties such as freedom of expression.
UN Envoy Expects “Common Ground” In Syrian Political Process
The visiting united nations special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen said on Sunday he hopes that common ground could be found to help push forward the Syrian political process.
Pedersen made the remarks after meeting with Syrian foreign minister, Walid Al-Moallem in the Syrian capital, Damascus. He said his discussions with the minister touched on issues related to un security council resolution 2254, which was endorsed in 2015, and laid forward a roadmap to politically resolve the Syrian war.
Pedersen said he hoped for the “beginning of something new,” as he meets with the opposition, and that parties can try to find more common ground on how to move the process forward.
Early US Vote Total Nears 60m; Exceeds 2016
It’s exactly eight days to the U.S. Elections, but already, nearly sixty million Americans have cast their ballots in early voting across the country. These early ballots have already surpassed by nearly fifty percent those who voted early during all of 2016.
Democrats have been dominating early voting, but republicans are slowly narrowing the gap. That’s because in-person early voting has kicked off in several states, and president Donald Trump has convinced many supporters not to use mail-in ballots with his unfounded warnings about mail-voting fraud.
US “Not To Control The Pandemic” As Death Toll Nears 230,000
The US White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has said on Sunday the United States is “not to control the pandemic” despite surging coronavirus cases and death toll.
The center for systems science and engineering at the Johns Hopkins University puts the total number of confirmed cases in the country has surpassed eight and a half million persons, and deaths resulting from the virus have risen to more than two hundred twenty-five thousand on Sunday.
During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, meadows said, quote, “we’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the act that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas,” end quote.
When asked why the country is not going to get control of the pandemic, meadows said, quote, “because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Meadows’ statement came one day after chief of staff to vice-president mike pence, and four others tested positive for the coronavirus and were quarantined.
Former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, tweeted on Sunday that coronavirus hospitalizations, a critical and objective measure o the disease burden in the U.S., are starting to accelerate, reaching nearly forty-two thousand on that day. He said criteria for hospital admission has been tightened over time, making the high numbers more concerning.
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