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Hundreds of Churches Threatened by France’s Plan to End Muslim Separatism

Creator: Christophe Meneboeuf 

Frustrated by years of terrorism inflicted by radical Islamists, France’s parliament is debating a law to end Muslim separatism.

French evangelicals fear their churches will become collateral damage.

“This is the first time, as president of the Protestant Federation of France, that I find myself in the position of defending freedom of worship,” said François Clavairoly.

“I never imagined that in my own country something like this could happen.”

Officially named “the Law to Uphold Republican Principles,” the 459-page bill has been the subject of fierce debate this month, receiving over 1,700 proposed amendments.

The aim, interior minister Gerald Darmanin told parliament, is to stop “an Islamist hostile takeover targeting Muslims” that “like gangrene [is] infecting our national unity.”

With Muslims often crowded into the many impoverished banlieues of France’s major cities, officials fear imported extremist ideologies are leading the religious minority to avoid national integration. In addition, recent terrorist attacks have rallied popular demand for increased security measures.

In the last six years, France has suffered…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today on February 9, 2021. Please click here to read the full text.

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France’s Free Speech Makes Arab Christians Squirm

French authorities insist that “Islam is in crisis.”

A teacher was beheaded in the streets last month. Three Catholics were knifed at church.

And around the world, Muslims are protesting religious cartoons.

The French reaction has been firm.

“We will defend the freedom that you taught so well, and we will strongly proclaim the concept of laïcité [secularism],” President Emmanuel Macron said of Samuel Paty, the slain teacher who used the infamous Charlie Hebdo caricatures of Muhammad in a class discussion about freedom of expression.

“We will not disavow the cartoons, even if others recoil,” Macron added.

And the official reaction has been swift.

A mosque that shared a video venting hatred toward Paty—prior to his murder—was shut down for six months. A Muslim charity linked to extremism was dissolved.

Meanwhile, a recent poll indicated 87 percent of the French believe that “secularism is in danger.” An additional 79 percent believe that “Islamism has declared war on the nation and the Republic.”

Muslim world leaders responded in outrage to Macron’s rhetoric.

Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan called for a boycott of French products. Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia, said Muslims have the right to “punish” the French, and “kill” them for their past atrocities.

Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar, led the Abu Dhabi–based Muslim Council of Elders in a call to sue Charlie Hebdo. The crisis has renewed the Muslim cry for an international law to ban the defamation of Islamic symbols. Others would broaden it to ban defamation of religion in general.

CT spoke with eight Christian leaders in the Arab world about the controversy, as well as a representative of France’s evangelical community.

The latter—also sometimes beleaguered in France—stands with Macron. “French evangelicals, like moderate Muslims, support…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today, on November 10, 2020. Please click here to read the full text.