French Senate adopts tougher provisions for controversial bill

PARIS

The French Senate on Monday passed a controversial bill that has been criticized for targeting Muslims with several amendments that toughen provisions previously approved by the National Assembly.

The right-wing Senate adopted the bill Consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic with 208 votes for and 109 votes against after two weeks of intense discussions. The National Assembly approved it in February.

The new amendments, which aim to combat “extremism”, include banning parents from wearing visible religious symbols while accompanying their children on school trips, wearing the burkini – a swimsuit that covers the entire body. body except the face, hands and feet which can be worn by Muslim women – in public swimming pools and “prevent underage girls from hiding their faces or wearing religious symbols in public space”. foreign flags at weddings. ”

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tabled a last-minute amendment to President Emmanuel Macron’s request to fight against foreign interference in the affairs of private schools. The amendment, which was passed unanimously, will allow authorities to oppose the establishment of private schools by foreign organizations, such as the one in Albertville by the Turkish Islamic association Milli Gorus, Darmanin said in a tweet. The association had previously refused to sign the government’s “charter of Islamic principles”.

The bill, which aims to tackle extremism and radical Islamism, includes legislative measures against online hatred, home schooling, virginity certificates and polygamy and strengthens regulations on foreign funding religious associations, education and public service neutrality.

The legislation, designed by the Macron government to “secularize Islam” in France, has been widely condemned for indiscriminately targeting the entire French Muslim population.

The amended version of the Senate bill will now go to the Joint Committee, which will decide whether to include or drop several of these amendments before being presented to parliament for final approval.

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