France: Proposed law against Islamic extremism may backfire on Christians

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Evangelicals in France are concerned a proposed law designed to end Muslim separatism and curtail Islamic extremism could end up infringing on Christians’ right to freedom of worship as well, Christianity Today reports.

Titled “the Law to Uphold Republican Principles,” the proposed legislation is being considered by the French parliament in the wake of 263 Islamic terrorist murders in France since 2015. France’s President Emmanuel Macron promised to bring in a law of this kind after French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an Islamic terrorist in Paris in October last year, Christianity Today reports.

The law aims to prevent Muslims from living in a parallel “counter society” and would require all children to be educated in the official school system from age three. The bill criminalizes polygamy, forced marriage, and the issuance of “virginity certificates” that are sometimes required of Muslim brides, Christianity Today reports. The legislation would also block non-French citizens from controlling an association, would require them to sign a “contract of Republican commitment.”

However, according to the Free Will Baptists of France, the bill may result, among other things, in a ban on Christian homeschooling for religious reasons, churches having to re-register every five years, sermons being monitored for hate speech, and religious leaders having to be educated in France only.

Moreover, Evangelicals worry the bill is an extension of an ongoing French effort to monitor private citizens: a new law now permits the government to gather information not only about the actions of people it considers a threat to national security, but also on suspects’ religious and political opinions, Christianity Today said. “In France, we’ve never before known this strong a push for control,” Franck Meyer, president of the Evangelical Protestant Committee for Human Dignity (EPCDH) said in a statement. “It is worrisome for all who defend human rights.”