Rabat – French President Emmanuel Macron has added to his controversial statements on Islam, vowing to enact a law to fight “Islamist separatism” in France.
On Friday, Emmanuel Macron said in a speech in Paris that Islam is a religion currently “in crisis all over the world.”
The president framed his remarks as a denunciation of “separatism” in a country that he says prides itself on secularism.
Macron appeared to blame Islam for recent violent incidents, including a stabbing near the former Charlie Hebdo office last week.
Reports said that the arrested suspect “admitted to investigators that he wanted to set the building on fire.”
The incident allegedly came in response to the satirical publication’s caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, deeply offending many Muslims.
Macron backed Charlie Hebdo’s decision to reprint the caricatures of the prophet, denouncing “Islamic separatism.”
In today’s speech, Macron renewed his vows that his government will propose a law to fight “Islamist separatism” by December.
The legislation seeks to “strengthen secularism in France.”
Macron said that Islam must be “freed from foreign interference” in France.
Under the law, the French government seeks to end a program that brings imams from several Muslim countries to France, including from Turkey, Morocco, and Algeria.
This is not the first time Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to stop the program to crack down on Islam’s “separatism.”
“A problem arises when, in the name of religion, some want to separate themselves from the Republic and therefore not respect its laws.”
The program dates back to 1977, allowing nine countries to send imams and teachers to provide foreign language and culture classes that “are not subject to any supervision from French authorities.”
According to news outlet France24, around 300 imams come to France annually.
In his speech that largely focused on Islam, Macron promised that those who arrived in 2020 will be “the last to arrive in such numbers.”
The French president is not the only public figure to criticize imams coming from foreign countries to teach Arabic in the country.
On February 25, television channel CNews aired a debate between French journalist Eric Zemmour and President of the Arab World Institute Jack Lang.
The debate focused on a book that Lang authored, but Zemmour ignited backlash after making controversial statements regarding Islam.
Known for his disputatious remarks about Arab culture, migration, and Islam, Zemmour accused Lang of being an “idiot who wants to re-Arabize and re-Islamize” France.
Muslim communities in France shared concerns recently due to the notable increase of Islamophobia in the country.
The most recent incident came just weeks ago when several French MPs left a parliamentary meeting on September 17 due to the participation of a woman wearing a hijab (a Muslim headscarf).