The lower house of the French parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a controversial bill that would strengthen oversight of mosques, schools, and sports clubs to safeguard its citizens from “radical Islamists” and to promote respect for French values – one of President Emmanuel Macron’s landmark projects. After two weeks of intense debate, the legislation was passed by in the National Assembly house with 347-151 votes.
The draft bill was introduced by President Macron last year after a series of attacks by radical Islamists rocked the country. Titled “Supporting respect for the principles of the Republic,” the legislation intends to protect French values, including secularism and harmony. It however received strong criticism from some Muslims, lawmakers, and others who fear the government is intruding on essential freedoms and pointing a finger at Islam, the nation’s secondary religion.