Separatism bill: French MEPs enter the lively

Attention flammable: the bill against separatism, a strong marker of the Macron quinquennium, will be on Monday on the grill of MEPs with 51 articles in committee which, against the background of the fight against radical Islamism, touch on ultrasonic sensitive subjects.

In the shadow of news crushed by the health crisis, the work of this ad hoc committee led by the former President of the National Assembly and former minister, François de Rugy, has so far been carried out in a very serene climate according to several members of the majority, with a very dense programme of hearings. Calm before the big weather?

Nearly 1,700amendments were tabled on this bill reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic in committee throughout the week, as a prelude to the debate in the House beginning on 1 February.

We want a moderate discussion… I have little hope, slides one of the rapporteurs.

Some amendments already promise heated exchanges, including among the majority, particularly around the ban on sailing for girls or school accompanying girls, proposed by MEPs LREM Aurore Bergé or François Cormier-Bouligeon.

Wanted by Emmanuel Macron, the text is one of the versions of his speech in the Mureaux on October 2, where the head of state presented his strategy to fight radical Islam, long awaited.

The beheading of Professor Samuel Paty and the attack in a church in Nice only reinforced expectations in a France where the tightening of secularism, religions and, first and foremost, Islam, regularly electrify public debate.

However, the bill also shatter pillars such as the 1905 Separation of Churches and State Act or the Freedoms of Association and Education, with the risk of side effects.

Among the reproaches made to us, we are told that to solve the problem of Muslims, we tap on everyone. On the other hand, we are accused of stigmatizing Islam without being able to hide it, says an LREM member of the commission. Taking up the antifoon of En Marche, he instead asserts the balance of a text conceived as a political object.

The veil and the majority

The fight against separatism responds to a real concern of our fellow citizens, says Val-dOise Walker Guillaume Vuilletet. For several years, the guard has been lowered, adds this spokesman for the majority group on this text.

Dipped into four headlines, the bill provides for a series of measures on the neutrality of the public service, the fight against online hatred, family education, strengthened control of associations, better transparency of worship and their financing, the fight against certificates of virginity, polygamy or forced marriages, etc.

It is a law of freedom and not of coercion that does not target religions in general, nor a religion in particular, judge Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior who carries the text with Marlène Schiappa and will be present in the mini hemicycle of the Lamartine Hall next week.

These are measures that do not overturn the table, says LR Annie Genevard. On the regalien, the majority is tetanized by the accusations of amalgam while we are in a situation of great urgency, criticizes the MP who promises counter-proposals.

On the other hand, LFI denounces through the voice of its leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon a law of stigmatization of Muslims.

Many of these provisions are sometimes useless, sometimes counterproductive, inappropriate, says Charles de Courson (Libertés et Territoires Group).

Everyone will want to make the text a political marker, observes an LREM MP. Including within the majority, where cohesion will be put to the test. As often on regalian subjects.

Faced with the proponents of a fighting secularism on the veil, an LREM official warns against simplistic equations that become harmful.

On the left wing, Sonia Krimi, not convinced by the urgency of this law, does not want to awaken antagonisms. His colleagues affiliated with the current In common want to insist on combating discrimination.