Islam in France: Washington worries and criticizes

The bill against Islamist separatism presented this Wednesday before French parliamentarians is sharply criticized by Washington, which associates it with a possible attack on freedom of religion. “I am concerned, of course, about what is going on in France,” US envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback said in an exchange with reporters. Unlike Anglo-Saxon multicultural societies, France builds its model on assimilation and a secularism which means that religion is strictly a private matter.

Hence the astonishment of this American high commissioner against this law that President Macron defends but which meets few followers outside of France. “There can be a constructive dialogue which I think can be useful,” but “when you are too repressive, the situation can get worse,” he warned. French President Emmanuel Macron published a column in the British daily Financial Times in early November to explain that “France is fighting against Islamist separatism, never against Islam”.

On Friday, Macron returned to these particularly sensitive subjects such as Islam and secularism, after some Anglo-Saxon media accused France of attacking Muslims. “France has no problems with Islam, it even has a long-standing relationship (…). Simply, we built our Republic, our collective project, in the separation between the political and the religious, this is what sometimes many regions of the world have difficulty understanding ”, he affirmed in an interview, defending French secularism. In a new New York Times article, the French president criticizes some media coverage of recent terrorist acts in France, including the assassination of Samuel Paty.

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