Debate on ‘Islamic separatism’ and fight against radical Islam in France

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Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2020
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Summary:

Reports and analyses concerning the revamped fight against radical Islam in France, following an increase of tension caused by the assassination of a French teacher.

Further information:

Samuel Paty - a teacher at a school in Paris - was beheaded on 16 October 2020, a few days after he displayed in class a copy of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that had provoked the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in 2015. The assassination sent shockwaves across the French society and increased tension around a longstanding debate about secularism (laïcité), freedom of expression and France's relations with its Muslim community.

In light of that attack, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a revamped fight against what he called Islamic separatism. Some immediate measures were taken - including a ban on a number of organisations and dozens of raids - but other more long-term initiatives were also announced to tackle extremism and prevent radical Islam from infiltrating in society. In reality, many of these initiative had already been announced by Mr Macron earlier in the month as part of an overall strategy to address such challenges. That strategy would seek to support work in providing guidance on how to reconcile being Muslim and French. It also aimed at curtailing the influence of foreign countries on France’s Muslim populations.

The rhetoric adopted by the French President affected the country's relations with the Muslim world, and not least with Turkey. A number of incidents took place near French embassies and several calls were raised in favour of a boycott on French products.

Amidst the tension caused by this debate, a second terrorist attack took place in Nice on 29 October.

Mr Macron later asked Muslim leaders in the country to agree a charter of republican values, which also includes the rejection of Islam as a political movement and a ban on foreign influence. On 9 December, the French government tabled a draft law aimed at addressing "radical Islamism".

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Foreign Policy, 08/10/2020: Macron’s Not Worried About Islam. He’s Worried About Le Pen https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/10/08/macrons-not-worried-about-islam-hes-worried-about-le-pen/
Euro|topics, October 2020: Macron declares war on Islamism https://www.eurotopics.net/en/248996/
The Local (France), 13/10/2020: 10 years after France banned the niqab, French governments are still stigmatising Muslims https://www.thelocal.fr/20201013/opinion-10-years-after-france-banned-the-niqab-french-governments-are-still-isolating-muslims
Swissinfo.ch, 19/10/2020: How Switzerland and France approach ‘Islamic separatism’ https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/how-switzerland-and-france-approach--islamic-separatism-/46105336
BBC News, 19/10/2020: Samuel Paty: Beheading of teacher deepens divisions over France's secular identity https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54602171
The Conversation, 20/10/2020: Beheading in France could bolster president’s claim that Islam is in ‘crisis’ – but so is French secularism https://theconversation.com/beheading-in-france-could-bolster-presidents-claim-that-islam-is-in-crisis-but-so-is-french-secularism-148070
TIME, 21/10/2020: The Beheading of a Teacher in France Exposes a Cultural Schism That Threatens President Macron's Future https://time.com/5902121/samuel-paty-france-macron-muslim/
The Guardian, 26/10/2020: Macron’s clash with Islam sends jolt through France’s long debate about secularism https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/26/macrons-clash-with-islam-sends-jolt-through-frances-long-debate-about-secularism
Politico, 26/10/2020: On Islam, Macron’s no hard-liner https://www.politico.eu/article/on-islam-macron-is-more-measured-than-his-critics-claim/
Euro|topics, October 2020: Terrorism: can France withstand the pressure? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/249627/
Euro|topics, October 2020: Erdoğan vs. Macron: who's benefiting? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/250044/
France 24, 30/10/2020: ‘Islam is being hyper-politicised in France, but Muslims are not part of the debate’ https://www.france24.com/en/france/20201030-islam-is-being-hyper-politicised-in-france-but-muslims-are-not-in-the-debate
Associated Press: Explainer, 01/11/2020: Why France sparks such anger in Muslim world https://apnews.com/article/boycotts-paris-middle-east-western-europe-france-ee594f94f34f4d7e04d12a60b67eacc1
The Irish Times: Editorial, 02/11/2020: The Irish Times view on Islam in France: Laïcité under the microscope https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-islam-in-france-la%C3%AFcit%C3%A9-under-the-microscope-1.4398039
openDemocracy: openMovements, 02/11/2020: Macron’s populism and Islam https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/openmovements/macrons-populism-and-islam/
Euro|topics, November 2020: France battles terrorism https://www.eurotopics.net/en/250375/
Foreign Policy, 03/11/2020: France’s War on Islamism Isn’t Populism. It’s Reality. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/11/03/frances-war-on-islamism-isnt-populism-its-reality/
Le Monde: Op-Ed, 03/11/2020: A call from Muslim intellectuals : « The boycott of France must stop » https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2020/11/03/an-appeal-from-muslim-intellectuals-the-boycott-of-france-must-stop_6058330_3232.html
Euronews, 05/11/2020: What is secularism and why is it causing such divisions in France? https://www.euronews.com/2020/11/05/what-is-secularism-and-why-is-it-causing-such-divisions-in-france
The Local (France), 08/11/2020: Why does France want to appoint an 'envoy' to explain itself to Muslim countries? https://www.thelocal.fr/20201108/why-does-france-want-to-appoint-an-envoy-to-explain-itself-to-muslim-countries
Amnesty International: News, 12/11/2020: France is not the free-speech champion it says it is https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/11/france-is-not-the-free-speech-champion-it-says-it-is/
New Statesman, 16/11/2020: Macron and the Muslim world https://www.newstatesman.com/Samuel-paty-murder-macron-muslim-terror
TRT World, 17/11/2020: France is losing its battle with Muslims, Islam and now the West https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/france-is-losing-its-battle-with-muslims-islam-and-now-the-west-41554
Foreign Policy, 20/11/2020: Yes, Islam Is Facing a Crisis. No, France Isn’t Helping Solve It. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/11/20/islam-facing-crisis-macron-france-laicite-secularism-not-helping-solve-it/
The Economist, 23/11/2020: What is French laïcité? https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2020/11/23/what-is-french-laicite
The Conversation, 24/11/2020: Muslim schools are allies in France’s fight against radicalization – not the cause https://theconversation.com/muslim-schools-are-allies-in-frances-fight-against-radicalization-not-the-cause-149802
The Atlantic, 24/11/2020: France Is About to Become Less Free https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/france-about-become-less-free/617195/
Reuters: Fact Check, 26/11/2020: Fact check: France has proposed that all school children be given ID numbers, not just Muslim kids https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2861NU
BBC News, 01/12/2020: France Islam: Muslims under pressure to sign French values charter https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-55132098
TIME, 08/12/2020: France's Treatment of Its Muslim Citizens Is the True Measure of Its Republican Values https://time.com/5918657/frances-muslim-citizens-republican-values/
The Local (France): Analysis, 08/12/2020: What is actually contained in France's new law against Islamic extremism? https://www.thelocal.fr/20201208/analysis-what-is-actually-contained-in-macrons-controversial-law-against-islamic-extremism
Politico, 09/12/2020: 5 things to know about France’s bill to combat Islamist radicalism https://www.politico.eu/article/france-law-emmanuel-macron-islamist-separatism-security/
Euronews, 09/12/2020: Here's what you need to know about France's controversial separatism law https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/09/here-s-what-you-need-to-know-about-france-s-controversial-separatism-law
The Economist, 09/12/2020: Emmanuel Macron unveils a controversial bill to fight Islamism https://www.economist.com/europe/2020/12/09/emmanuel-macron-unveils-a-controversial-bill-to-fight-islamism

News
France 24, 02/10/2020: Macron outlines plan to fight ‘Islamist separatism’ in France https://www.france24.com/en/20201002-live-macron-outlines-proposal-for-law-to-fight-separatism-in-france
Euronews, 02/10/2020: France: Emmanuel Macron presents plan against 'Islamic separatism' https://www.euronews.com/2020/10/02/france-emmanuel-macron-presents-plan-against-islamic-separatism
The Guardian, 02/10/2020: Macron outlines new law to prevent Islamic 'separatism' in France https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/02/emmanuel-macron-outlines-law-islamic-separatism-france
Bloomberg, 02/10/2020: Macron Rolls Out Vision to Reorganize Islam in France https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-02/macron-rolls-out-vision-to-reorganize-islam-in-france
Politico, 02/10/2020: Macron vows to fight radical Islam with crackdown on foreign influence https://www.politico.eu/article/macron-france-islam-separatism/
Politico, 21/10/2020: Macron steps up fight against radical Islam (and his critics) https://www.politico.eu/article/macron-brandishes-actions-against-radical-islam-in-face-of-criticism/
EurActiv, 26/10/2020: Erdogan doubles down in backlash against Macron’s Islam comments https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/erdogan-doubles-down-in-backlash-against-macrons-islam-comments/
BBC News, 27/10/2020: France targets radical Islam amid row with Turkey https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54692802
Anadolu Agency, 27/10/2020: Muslim world unites against France https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/muslim-world-unites-against-france/2020875
EurActiv, 28/10/2020: Huge anti-France rally in Bangladesh as Macron backlash widens https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/huge-anti-france-rally-in-bangladesh-as-macron-backlash-widens/
Reuters, 28/10/2020: Turkey hits at "Crusades" against Islam in cartoons row with France https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN27D1VT
Deutsche Welle, 30/10/2020: Muhammad cartoon row: Anti-France protests erupt across Muslim world https://p.dw.com/p/3kejo
The Irish Times, 01/11/2020: Macron to Muslims: I hear your anger but will not accept violence https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/macron-to-muslims-i-hear-your-anger-but-will-not-accept-violence-1.4396952
Associated Press, 01/11/2020: French Muslims, stigmatized by attacks, feel under pressure https://apnews.com/article/paris-france-emmanuel-macron-islam-europe-ea5e15bb651bbe443b27bc19948cae6b
The Guardian, 04/11/2020: France considers envoy to explain Macron's ideas to Muslim states https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/04/france-considers-envoy-to-explain-macrons-ideas-to-muslim-states
RFI News, 05/11/2020: Macron clarifies French fight against Islamist extremism, not Islam https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20201105-macron-clarifies-french-fight-against-islamist-extremism-not-islam
BBC News, 06/11/2020: France terror attacks: Macron calls for EU free movement reform https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54829214
Reuters, 08/11/2020: French minister, in Cairo, affirms respect for Islam in dispute over cartoons https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN27O0SE
Deutsche Welle, 09/11/2020: French foreign minister travels to Egypt to soothe tensions https://p.dw.com/p/3l23t
The Guardian, 16/11/2020: Macron accuses English-language media of 'legitimising' violence in France https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/16/macron-france-foreign-media-new-york-times
BBC News, 17/11/2020: Pakistan 'to boycott French products' over cartoons https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-54971409
BBC News, 19/11/2020: France's Macron asks Muslim leaders to back 'republican values' charter https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-55001167
RFI News, 03/12/2020: France begins crackdown on mosques suspected of encouraging Islamist extremists https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20201203-french-interior-ministry-begins-crackdown-of-mosques-suspected-of-radicalisation-islam-extremism-gerald-darmanin
Euronews, 03/12/2020: French mosque crackdown: government investigates 'unaffiliated' Muslim places of worship https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/03/french-mosque-crackdown-government-investigates-unaffiliated-muslim-places-of-worship
France24, 03/12/2020: France targets mosques in crackdown on radical Islam https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201203-france-targets-mosques-in-crackdown-on-radical-islam
France24, 04/12/2020: Macron attacks 'big lie' that France is eroding freedoms https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201204-macron-attacks-big-lie-that-france-is-eroding-freedoms
Deutsche Welle, 05/12/2020: Renowned imam calls on Muslims to engage with France https://p.dw.com/p/3mFVk
Deutsche Welle, 08/12/2020: New French law may increase discrimination https://p.dw.com/p/3mS45
France24, 09/12/2020: French government unveils new law tackling Islamist extremism https://www.france24.com/en/france/20201209-macron-seeks-cabinet-backing-for-new-law-tackling-islamist-extremism
Reuters, 09/12/2020: France to press on with law on "unrepublican" behaviour https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN28J26X

Official
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech by President Emmanuel Macron on the fight against separatism - Fight against separatism – the Republic in action (2 October 2020) https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/france-facts/secularism-and-religious-freedom-in-france-63815/article/fight-against-separatism-the-republic-in-action-speech-by-emmanuel-macron

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