French Lawmakers Back Bill Meant to Curb Radical Islamism

The bill, which just cleared the lower house, is part of President Macron's landmark effort to root out "Islamist separatism" in France.

Video Transcript

- French President Emmanuel Macron's landmark deal to fight Islamist extremism passed a major hurdle this week amid a raging debate in France, and across Europe, on how to control domestic radicalization. The sweeping bill, which just cleared the French lower house and is expected to become law later this year, strengthens government oversight of mosques, schools, and Sports Club. While Macron and his allies say it is essential to prevent radical ideas from spreading and inspiring violence--

MACRON: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

- Critics say the French lawmakers are unfairly singling out Islam.

- Clearly, there are issues of religious violence and extremism within the Muslim community. But do you hold the second largest religious population in France accountable for the actions of one to three people?

- The legislation gained urgency after a French teacher was beheaded in October by a radical Islamist who grew up in France. Besides adding oversight on community groups that receive public or foreign funds, the bill extends a ban on overt religious symbols, beyond public employees, to anyone who's a private government contractor like bus drivers. Michael, who is up for re-election in 15 months, is hoping to lure conservative voters, though far right candidate Marine Le Pen says the bill doesn't go far enough.

- It's a lot of tension, in a way, between the view of the state. The Republican French state that, you know, everybody is a French citizen and we don't care what you are, and increasing numbers of especially younger people and younger Muslims saying, actually, we do want to identify as Muslims.

- Ben Schamisso so, Newsy.