French Senate approves proposal to ban prayers in universities

PARIS

The French Senate on Wednesday night approved adding a ban on religious practices in university hallways to a controversial bill to combat “Islamist separatism”.

Discussing the bill, which has been criticized for alienating Muslims, the center-right Les Républicains (LR) party proposed adding a clause banning prayers in university hallways as well as religious activities that could hinder activities educational.

Although Die Linke senators and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer opposed the proposal, it was accepted by votes from right-wing senators.

On February 16 this year, the French National Assembly approved the bill, which will be debated in the Senate on March 30. It should return to the National Assembly after a vote.

It was introduced by President Emmanuel Macron last year to combat so-called “Islamist separatism”.

The bill is criticized for targeting the Muslim community and imposing restrictions on almost every aspect of their lives.

It plans to intervene in mosques and the associations in charge of their administration as well as to control the finances of associations and non-governmental organizations belonging to Muslims.

It also restricts the educational choices of the Muslim community by preventing families from providing home education to children.

The bill also prohibits patients from choosing doctors based on their gender for religious or other reasons and makes “secularism education” mandatory for all civil servants.

*Written by Dilan Pamuk

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