National Assembly strengthens anti-terrorism law

July 23, 2014

The National Assembly’s legal commission strengthened the law aimed at reinforcing France’s fight against terrorism. The legislation is expected to combat the threat represented by the presence of numerous French and European jihadists in Syria and in Iraq.

The plan’s key measure provides for the possibility to prohibit, for a limited time, a suspected individual from leaving the country to participate in jihadist operations. The text created a new “illegal entity”, that of an “individual terrorist firm” and equally reinforces Internet monitoring with the possibility of the government blocking sites that glorify terrorism.

“When these young people…see crime in its most barbaric and terrible form, with numerous executions, decapitations, and crucifixions, their behavior is destroyed to the point that when they come back, they represent a danger to our national security,” said Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve Tuesday, July 22 at the Assembly meeting.

The text, which will be publicly debated by leaders in September, completes the plan put in place in April, whose goal was to prohibit jihadist suspects from participating in Syria’s war.

Authorities have already put in place prohibitions in which children’s names, at the request of their parents, can be put on a list circulated throughout the European Union in order to stop minors from leaving to fight.

All the amendments presented by the Commission’s spokesperson, Sebastien Pietrasanta (PS) were passed. Both an individual’s identity card and passport can be confiscated in order to prohibit entrance to Turkey, the gateway to Syria.

Editors and hosts of websites “leading to acts of terrorism or glorifying it” will be, according to the amendment, required to remove the content in question.

According to Sebastien Pietrasanta, 900 Frenchmen have been involved in Syrian jihadist networks. As of mid-July, 342 Frenchmen are currently fighting in Syria including 50 women and seven minors. Over 150 people are in the process of going to Syria, and 171 are leaving Syria, of which 100 have returned to France. Thirty-three of these combatants were killed. Homeland Security stopped three people suspected of being members of a jihadist group Tuesday in Albi.

France’s National Assembly Diversifies

Le Monde – JUNE 19 2012

Mostly “white” until now, France’s National Assembly has diversified
following the legislative elections on June 17^th . Eight deputies of
Maghrebian, Asian and Brasilian origin have been elected. They are all
members of the Socialist party. The Maghrebian members include: Kader
Arif (Haute-Garonne), the former minister of veteran affairs, who
arrived in France at 4 years old with her Algerian-born parents. Malek
Boutih (Essonne), 47 and of Algerian origin, has spent 30 years working
in social and political organizations, including SOS Racisme, where he
was president from 1999-2003. Kheira Bouziane (Côte-d’Or), is a 58
year-old Economics professor born in Oran, Algeria. Chaynesse Khirouni
(Meurthe-et-Moselle) was a micro-finance teacher at the University of
Lorraine before she became involved in politics in 2008. And, Razzy
Hammadi (Seine-Saint-Denis) who was born to an Algerian father and a
Tunisian mother. Hammadi was formally the president of the Socialist
Youth Movement from 2005-2007 and has worked for the public service
since 2008.

Other members of immigrant origins include, from Tchad, Seybah Dagoma
(Paris), 34, a former lawyer who formally worked for Bertrand Delanoë as
person in charge of the social economy. Born in Nantes, she is a
founding member of the think tank, Terra Nova and of the scientific
council of the Jean-Jaures Foundation. Pouria Amirshahi (France
overseas), was born in Iran and came to France when he was five. His
father returned to Iran and he grew up with her mother in a housing
project in the outskirts of Paris. Eduardo Rihan Cypel (Seine-et-Marne)
is 36 years old and was born in Brazil. He’s known for his work fighting
against the immigration policies within Sarkozy’s government.

Hollande would keep France’s burqa ban

News Agencies – April 27, 2012

 

France’s socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande says that, if elected, he won’t seek to overturn a law banning face-covering Muslim veils enacted by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives. Francois Hollande, who leads Sarkozy in all polls, and most other Socialists abstained from the 2010 vote in the National Assembly to ban mesh-screen burqas and niqabs. On RTL radio, Hollande said he would keep the ban, but “have it applied in the best way.” He did not elaborate.

French Muslim women claim the niqab law has little weight

The Toronto Star – March 31, 2012

 

Nearly one year after France implemented its controversial ban on wearing the Islamic veil— a niqab or burka — in public, a surprising fact has emerged. It appears that few women have actually removed their veils to obey the law. As the presidential election in France approaches, and Islam and Muslim integration are top of mind, critics say the law was an exercise in pleasing the electorate, in “marketing,” while further stigmatizing Muslims.

It didn’t take a visitor to the Les Minguettes neighbourhood of Vénissieux long to observe the widespread non-compliance. Upon emerging from the subway at Vénissieux station, a niqab-wearing woman walked in from the opposite direction, accompanied by a man. On the tram platform outside, two niqab-wearers waited, chatting. And in Les Minguettes, they were not the norm, but neither were they hard to find.

Vénissieux is the place where the idea for the law first originated, with André Gérin, then the Communist mayor and soon-to-be-retired National Assembly member. According to numbers compiled by the union of police chiefs, the SCPN, there have been 335 people taken in for questioning by the police. About 300 have been issued fines, which top out at 150 euros (about $200).

National Post Opinion Writer Suggests Christianity is used as a tool to combat radical Islam in Quebec

The National Post – March 11, 2011
The report from the 2008 commission headed by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor was supposed to clarify, finally, the boundaries where secular politics and religious accommodation could reside comfortably in Quebec. But in the three years since making public their “reasonable accommodation” recommendations, things have only grown more tense, leading Mr. Bouchard last week to bemoan to a Montreal reporter the persistence of “division among the people.”

“A lot of the debate has been compounded by the growing presence of non-Christians in Canada,” says Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. “There’s a significant percentage of people who are worried about the threat of non-Christian immigration, and the percentage is not declining.” Worries about hostile Islamists taking advantage of our open society are, he believes, “the dominant issue” hidden beneath the reasonable accommodation debate.

The confrontation doesn’t always look like it’s about Muslims. For decades, the Alberta government was just fine with allowing members of its Hutterite colonies to own special driver’s licences that had no photographs on them, as this conflicted with their beliefs. The province never mentioned any growing concern around Muslim veils, but called it a necessary security measure. But it’s a security measure exactly like the debate over whether veiled women should vote or whether Sikhs can bring kirpans in the National Assembly; post-9/11 any thinking about so-called security measures plainly considers radical Islam top of mind.

French MPs Vote to Strip Criminal Immigrants of their Citizenship

October 12, 2010
French lawmakers approved a bill to strip foreign-born criminals of their French nationality and expel EU citizens for certain crimes, all part of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s law and order crackdown. Members of the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, passed the measure after a first reading by 294 votes to 239 in a vote overshadowed by mass strikes and demonstrations against Sarkozy’s pensions reforms.

The law would strip French nationality from foreigners who had acquired citizenship and who were convicted of violent crimes against police and other officials. This punishment currently applies only to terrorism charges. It would also allow police to deport foreign nationals, including those from other European Union countries, for repeated acts of theft, aggressive begging or for illegally occupying land.

The bill must be examined by a parliamentary commission before it can be voted into law.

French Senate Votes Overwhelmingly to Ban Face Veils in Public Spaces

News Agencies – September 14, 2010
The French Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill banning full-facial coverings in public. Leaders of both parliamentary houses said they have asked a special council to first ensure the measure passes constitutional muster amid concerns its tramples on religious freedoms. The Senate voted 246 to 1 in favour of the bill, which has already passed in the lower chamber, the National Assembly. It will need President Nicolas Sarkozy’s signature.
“This law was the object of long and complex debates,” the Senate president, Gerard Larcher, and National Assembly head Bernard Accoyer said in a joint statement explaining their move. They said in a joint statement that they want to be sure there is “no uncertainty” about it conforming to the constitution. The measure affects approximately 2,000 women.
France would be the first European country to pass such a law though others, notably neighbouring Belgium, are considering laws against face-covering veils, seen as anathema to the local culture. The bill calls for 150 euro fines or citizenship classes for any woman caught covering her face, or both. It also carries stiff penalties for anyone such as husbands or brothers convicted of forcing the veil on a woman. The 30,000 euro fine and year in prison are doubled if the victim is a minor. It remains unclear how authorities planned to enforce such a law.

French Members of Parliament Vote to ban Islam Full Headscarf in Public Spaces

France’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public. There were 335 votes for the bill and only one against in the 557-seat National Assembly. It must now be ratified by the Senate in September to become law.

Many of the opposition Socialists, who originally wanted the ban limited only to public buildings, abstained from voting after coming under pressure from feminist supporters of the bill. President Nicolas Sarkozy has backed the ban as part of a wider debate on French identity but critics say the government is pandering to far-right voters. After the vote, Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said it was a victory for democracy and for French values.

The bill would make it illegal to wear garments such as the niqab or burqa, which incorporate a full-face veil, anywhere in public. It envisages fines of 150 euros for women who break the law and 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term for men who force their wives to wear the burqa.

Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, a government advisory body, has supported taking steps to discourage women from wearing the full veil but has said a legal ban would stigmatise a vulnerable group.

Quebecois Premier Jean Charest proposes bill limiting public services for niqab wearers

Quebec will refuse all government services, including education and non-emergency health care, to fully veiled Muslim women under legislation tabled yesterday in the National Assembly.

Jean Charest, the Liberal Premier, said the bill establishing guidelines for the accommodation of religious minorities is aimed at “drawing a line” to demonstrate that gender equality is a paramount Quebec value. The bill applies not only to government departments and Crown corporations but also to hospitals, schools, universities and daycares that receive funding from the province.

The proposed guidelines in Bill 94 follow an uproar this month over the expulsion of a niqab-wearing woman from French courses after she insisted that male students in her class not see her face. Quebec’s Immigration Department tracked her to a second college where she was studying French and had her expelled again because she would not remove her niqab, a veil that leaves open a slit for the eyes.
Quebec, which for more than three years has been grappling with the issue of accommodating religious differences, is the first province to take such a stance against the niqab and burqa. In Ontario, women wearing a full veil can make special arrangements to receive government services without exposing their faces to male bureaucrats.

Mr. Weinstock said Quebec is addressing head-on issues that are being ignored elsewhere in Canada. “This is a very good thing,” he said. “Whatever happens as a result of the debates in the National Assembly over this bill, and whatever the final form of this legislation is, we are having a very interesting societal debate here in Quebec that has to do with issues that are not specific to Quebec.”

French lawmakers debate possible burqa ban

Amid heated debates, French lawmakers are wrestling with a compromise over a proposed ban on the wearing of face-veil by Muslim women. “We will talk about the idea of a law, about the need to take time to prepare it and to avoid stigmatization,” said MP André Gerin, head of the parliamentary commission on the issue.

Gerin, who spearheaded the anti-burqa campaign, said the next step will be a law imposing a ban on the burqa. Many lawmakers have voiced skepticism at the prospect of police forcing women to lift their veils in public, leaving the parliamentary committee mulling more applicable compromises. The initial proposal is to impose fines of up to €750 on people covering their faces in all public places.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) has already introduced a draft bill with the proposal in the National Assembly. But Gerin recommended a more selective ban applying only to public buildings and schools. The conclusions of the special panel are going to be released in a report by the end of January.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon also waded into the fray saying he was in favor of a ban. He said the parliament should adopt a resolution outlining France’s rejection of the burqa and that several legislative texts and regulations should follow.

Libération (French)