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Fight against radicalization: the separatism law is slowly being put in place

On August 13, the Constitutional Council validated most of the law confirming respect for the principles of the Republic, known as the law on separatism. Presented a few days before the assassination of Samuel Paty, on October 16, 2020, the project had been tough to strengthen the repressive arsenal and the control system of radicalism.

Thus, article 10 sanctions the fact of obstructing the function of teacher, while article 36 punishes that of disseminating private information allowing to identify or locate a person, with increased penalties when a person depositary of the l public authority is targeted (a measure to protect police officers).

Control and sanction of religious associations

But the law also strengthens the tools of control and sanction, in particular religious associations, such as article 74 on the closure of places of worship and dependent premises. This new penal system is part of a strengthening of the fight against the Islamist threat, desired by the government: at the end of August, 85 places of worship suspected of radicalism were listed, of which a third was the subject of a measure of closure or neutralization.

→ READ. “I’m falling from the clouds”: in the Sarthe, amazement after the announcement of the closure of a radical mosque

The government has also pronounced the dissolution of five associations and initiated several other procedures targeting in particular an Islamist publishing house Nawa or the Black African Defense League. About ten other structures are in the sights.

Towards an “administration of secularism”

Marlène Schiappa, Minister in charge of citizenship, insists on The cross on the surveillance aspect: “The Pharos reporting platform now operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with around sixty agents. The reinforcement of resources made it possible to increase reports by 184%. “ The interministerial committee for the prevention of delinquency and radicalization runs an Internet monitoring unit where around twenty agents broadcast a counter-speech to respond to jihadist propaganda. “We have created a fund endowed with 2.5 million euros to mobilize civil society through calls for projects”, adds the minister.

In the field of the defense and promotion of secularism, the separatism law should gradually be translated into facts. First, by mobilizing the entire state apparatus. The text imposes the training of all agents by 2024 and organizes a network of three public functions (State, local communities and hospitals) with the systematic establishment, at local and national level, of secularity referents.

“It is a real administration of secularism that is being set up”, assures the minister who installed, on October 4, an office of secularism which takes place next to the office of worship at the Ministry of the Interior. Its mission will consist “To label and coordinate training plans, to organize the network of referents and also to prepare the interministerial committees meeting twice a year”, details Marlène Schiappa.

Measures awaiting decrees

To come into full application, the separatism law must, however, still be the subject of several decrees and circulars, some on very sensitive subjects. This is particularly the case with the decree which will specify the content of the “Republican contract of engagement” to be signed by all associations which receive public subsidies. This text, which raises serious concerns in the associative world, should be presented in the coming days.

Ditto for the decree on “Referees-secularism” through which the prefects can challenge decisions taken by local elected officials. Other texts, finally, are eagerly awaited, which concern the extension of the principle of neutrality to all companies exercising a public service or the new system of recognition in the prefecture of the status of religious association.


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