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

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Publication Date 2020
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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.

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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 Links
Commentary and Analysis
Foreign Policy, 08/10/2020: Macron’s Not Worried About Islam. He’s Worried About Le Pen
Euro|topics, October 2020: Macron declares war on Islamism
The Local (France), 13/10/2020: 10 years after France banned the niqab, French governments are still stigmatising Muslims, 19/10/2020: How Switzerland and France approach ‘Islamic separatism’
BBC News, 19/10/2020: Samuel Paty: Beheading of teacher deepens divisions over France's secular identity
The Conversation, 20/10/2020: Beheading in France could bolster president’s claim that Islam is in ‘crisis’ – but so is French secularism
TIME, 21/10/2020: The Beheading of a Teacher in France Exposes a Cultural Schism That Threatens President Macron's Future
The Guardian, 26/10/2020: Macron’s clash with Islam sends jolt through France’s long debate about secularism
Politico, 26/10/2020: On Islam, Macron’s no hard-liner
Euro|topics, October 2020: Terrorism: can France withstand the pressure?
Euro|topics, October 2020: Erdoğan vs. Macron: who's benefiting?
France 24, 30/10/2020: ‘Islam is being hyper-politicised in France, but Muslims are not part of the debate’
Associated Press: Explainer, 01/11/2020: Why France sparks such anger in Muslim world
The Irish Times: Editorial, 02/11/2020: The Irish Times view on Islam in France: Laïcité under the microscope
openDemocracy: openMovements, 02/11/2020: Macron’s populism and Islam
Euro|topics, November 2020: France battles terrorism
Foreign Policy, 03/11/2020: France’s War on Islamism Isn’t Populism. It’s Reality.
Le Monde: Op-Ed, 03/11/2020: A call from Muslim intellectuals : « The boycott of France must stop »
Euronews, 05/11/2020: 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?
Amnesty International: News, 12/11/2020: France is not the free-speech champion it says it is
New Statesman, 16/11/2020: Macron and the Muslim world
TRT World, 17/11/2020: France is losing its battle with Muslims, Islam and now the West
Foreign Policy, 20/11/2020: Yes, Islam Is Facing a Crisis. No, France Isn’t Helping Solve It.
The Economist, 23/11/2020: What is French laïcité?
The Conversation, 24/11/2020: Muslim schools are allies in France’s fight against radicalization – not the cause
The Atlantic, 24/11/2020: France Is About to Become Less Free
Reuters: Fact Check, 26/11/2020: Fact check: France has proposed that all school children be given ID numbers, not just Muslim kids
BBC News, 01/12/2020: France Islam: Muslims under pressure to sign French values charter
TIME, 08/12/2020: France's Treatment of Its Muslim Citizens Is the True Measure of Its Republican Values
The Local (France): Analysis, 08/12/2020: What is actually contained in France's new law against Islamic extremism?
Politico, 09/12/2020: 5 things to know about France’s bill to combat Islamist radicalism
Euronews, 09/12/2020: 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

France 24, 02/10/2020: Macron outlines plan to fight ‘Islamist separatism’ in France
Euronews, 02/10/2020: France: Emmanuel Macron presents plan against 'Islamic separatism'
The Guardian, 02/10/2020: Macron outlines new law to prevent Islamic 'separatism' in France
Bloomberg, 02/10/2020: Macron Rolls Out Vision to Reorganize Islam in France
Politico, 02/10/2020: Macron vows to fight radical Islam with crackdown on foreign influence
Politico, 21/10/2020: Macron steps up fight against radical Islam (and his critics)
EurActiv, 26/10/2020: Erdogan doubles down in backlash against Macron’s Islam comments
BBC News, 27/10/2020: France targets radical Islam amid row with Turkey
Anadolu Agency, 27/10/2020: Muslim world unites against France
EurActiv, 28/10/2020: 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
Deutsche Welle, 30/10/2020: Muhammad cartoon row: Anti-France protests erupt across Muslim world
The Irish Times, 01/11/2020: Macron to Muslims: I hear your anger but will not accept violence
Associated Press, 01/11/2020: French Muslims, stigmatized by attacks, feel under pressure
The Guardian, 04/11/2020: France considers envoy to explain Macron's ideas to Muslim states
RFI News, 05/11/2020: Macron clarifies French fight against Islamist extremism, not Islam
BBC News, 06/11/2020: France terror attacks: Macron calls for EU free movement reform
Reuters, 08/11/2020: French minister, in Cairo, affirms respect for Islam in dispute over cartoons
Deutsche Welle, 09/11/2020: French foreign minister travels to Egypt to soothe tensions
The Guardian, 16/11/2020: Macron accuses English-language media of 'legitimising' violence in France
BBC News, 17/11/2020: Pakistan 'to boycott French products' over cartoons
BBC News, 19/11/2020: France's Macron asks Muslim leaders to back 'republican values' charter
RFI News, 03/12/2020: France begins crackdown on mosques suspected of encouraging Islamist extremists
Euronews, 03/12/2020: French mosque crackdown: government investigates 'unaffiliated' Muslim places of worship
France24, 03/12/2020: France targets mosques in crackdown on radical Islam
France24, 04/12/2020: Macron attacks 'big lie' that France is eroding freedoms
Deutsche Welle, 05/12/2020: Renowned imam calls on Muslims to engage with France
Deutsche Welle, 08/12/2020: New French law may increase discrimination
France24, 09/12/2020: French government unveils new law tackling Islamist extremism
Reuters, 09/12/2020: France to press on with law on "unrepublican" behaviour

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)

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