France's controversial "anti-separatism" law, which has been criticized for singling out Muslims, will allow the state more leeway to target Muslims, a French journalist Fateh Kimouche warned on Monday.
Kimouche, the founder of the Al Kanz website, which focuses on Islam and Muslim-related issues, alleged that French President Emmanuel Macron is suffering from an "Islamophobic fallacy," in which he is unable to distinguish between terrorists and Muslims.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, he opined that Macron opted to punish Islam after a series of terror incidents carried out by Daesh/ISIS terrorists in the country, stressing that the law is designed to confront Muslims, not terrorists.
He drew attention to the law, which has resulted in an upsurge in Islamophobic discourse in the mainstream media and on social media, as well as the smearing of writings on mosque walls and mayors dismissing imams (prayer leaders).
Furthermore, Kimouche added, “now, the state has a free space to attack any Muslim, any Muslim-operated business or religious institutions under the pretext of respect to the republican principles, which based on equivocal principles.”
Underlining that many international media outlets including Financial Times and New York Times, and organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have heavily criticized the law, he noted that the reactions on the law further angered Macron.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly last month, despite strong opposition from both rightist and leftist lawmakers.
The government claims that the legislation is intended to strengthen France's secular system, but critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.
The bill has been criticized for targeting France's Muslim community – the largest in Europe, with 3.35 million members – and imposing restrictions on many aspects of its members' lives.
The law allows officials to intervene in mosques and associations responsible for their administration, as well as control the finances of Muslim-affiliated associations and NGOs.
It also restricts the educational choices of Muslims by making home schooling subject to official permission.
Under the law, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctors based on gender for religious or other reasons, and "secularism education" has been made compulsory for all civil servants.
France has been criticized by international organizations and NGOs, especially the UN, for targeting and marginalizing Muslims with the law./agencies