PARIS, France: Parents in France who home-school their children could face six-month jail term under new laws targeting Muslims community living in the country.
The so-called legislation is intended to stop kids being “brainwashed” amid growing fears that “hardliners are trying to create a separate society for Muslims”.
It comes after President Emmanuel Macron vowed a crackdown on Muslims following the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty last month.
Statistics showed that currently, an estimated 50,000 children in France are home schooled.
Ministers claimed that some Muslims are refusing to let children attend school and girls are being denied an education.
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said: “In some areas, there are more boys than girls (in school) when we know that statistically, more girls are born. It’s a scandal.”
The new law makes it a crime to teach children at home – unless going to school is “impossible for reasons relating to (the child’s) situation or that of the family”.
Parents who break the law face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a €7,500 fine.
To enforce the ban, every child in France will now be given an identification number.
Headteachers who fail to respect secular French values could be jailed for up to a year under the new law.
Other new measures include ensuring schools can resist radical demands to tone down religious or sexual education lessons.
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Local councils will get powers to refuse separate swimming times for men and women, mosques will be forced to reveal overseas funding and police will prosecute people for online hate speech.
It is part of Macron’s wider crackdown against Muslims in France.
The president says there has been a “conscious, political project” seeking to create a “counter-society” that obeys Islamic law.
He also wants to tackle the terrorism that grows out of it.
Last month Darmanin said he was making moves to kick out 231 “suspected radicals” on an extremist watch list.
It followed the murder of Paty outside his school near Paris by a teenage Chechen refugee.
Macron’s tough words on Islamism sparked anger in the Muslim world, with large protests in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said France was treating Muslims as badly as Jews were persecuted in the 1930s.