The law was placed on high alert after teacher Samuel Patti was beheaded last October by a Muslim extremist. Patti had shown Muhammad cartoons in his class on freedom of expression.
The teacher’s death sparked outrage. About 81 percent of French say it is important to take tougher measures against extremists, as the law intends.
“Samuel Patty Essay”
The plans, now approved by the Chamber, will punish Muslim extremists more harshly and monitor them more strictly.
A person could soon be imprisoned for three years if they put someone’s private information on the Internet, putting that person at risk. This legal article is called the “Samuel Patty Essay”. Social media reported the teacher’s school, which allowed the killer to find Patty.
And threats against officials are punished more strictly. Doctors are no longer permitted to issue “virginity certificates.” Polygamy, and being married with several partners at the same time, is treated more severely.
Homeschooling is restricted
The law also wants to place Islamic organizations and mosques under a magnifying glass. Mosques should better justify why and when they receive money from abroad. Cultural organizations must adhere to French standards and values before they can be eligible for grants.
Homeschooling is being curtailed. According to the government, parents with extremist ideas sometimes keep their children at home to educate them themselves. The possibilities are limited.
Hundreds of modifications
Analysts say President Emmanuel Macron’s new law wants to reassure right-wing voters in light of the presidential election scheduled for next year.
Macron expects to confront right-wing populist Marine Le Pen again in 2022, just as he did in the last elections in 2017. By proposing a law against Islamic extremism, he wants to cut the electoral lawn from its feet.
By the way, the law was not passed without a struggle. It was discussed for 135 hours and several parties produced hundreds of amendments. The left-wing opposition said it feared stigmatization of Muslims. The right-wing opposition called for tougher measures.
Now that the House of Representatives has approved the law, the session will begin at the end of next month. President Macron will have problems there. His LREM party ranks in the majority in the House of Representatives, but in the Senate, the right-wing opposition has the most seats. So there will be an attempt to tighten the law further.
Then the final version of the law returns to the House of Representatives for a final vote.