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Islamophobia: a never-ending tale of French draconian laws

Laws are made to guarantee and protect the rights and interests of common masses at a larger scale saving them from any sort of oppression. These laws are considered a hallmark of a society and civilisation. Each of the primitive society had maintained its laws codifying the set of principles for a better law and order situation. However, the case is different in France where the country has a long history of draconian laws targeting minorities and oppressed segments of the society.

The laws in France had been more a projection of subjectivity of masses than the protection. The promulgation of such harsh laws guaranteed the rights of rich more and the down-trodden received the vehement practice of the on-going injustice. The Old Regime of 1789 was unable to carve out a fair judiciary system and succumbed to the vested interests of the higher class.

The Department of Justice of Canada writes as its analysis: “Of all the institutions of the Old Regime, the justice system was criticised the most harshly and the most justifiably.

French justice under the Old Regime was marked by a large number of courts, the overlapping of their jurisdictions, the slowness and the cost of proceedings, the harshness of the criminal procedure, the cruelty of the punishments and the severity of the sentences for ordinary people only. A severity that contrasted with the extreme clemency shown to the privileged classes.

There was generally little love for judges and prosecutors because they defended a system that favoured their interests but which the majority of people rejected.”

French continued the similar fashion of mal-treatment with the minorities of the country in the postmodern era. Earlier, they had exercised its oppressive practices over the nationals and later over the minorities who came to live in the country.

The recent instance of the ill-treatment appeared for the diaspora of Muslim lately. France came up with somewhat the most extremist in shaping laws for the Muslims. While taking the support of baseless slogans, ‘Muslims are terrorists’ France being self-assured made its own interpretation to barricade Muslims living on its land. France made almost breath-choking laws for the Muslims. Contrary to such strict laws, it made its stance pronounced for proving that Muslims are extremists and used freedom of expression for grumbling the sentiments of Muslims.

France was quick to show its biased than any other country. It locked the extremist deportment in the laws and verdicts. The discrimination that has been there in French society got documented in the laws. The Muslims are saying it openly now. Irfan Ahmed, a Muslim living in France said: “I feel suffocated and barricaded. We Muslims have to explain over and over again to the French people that we are also the peace-loving community. Yet their standpoint is that ‘Islam is incompatible with France’. We are being treated differently and this different treatment is discrimination.

No one in France believes that we also deserve to be respected because the media projects only one thing that Islam is a religion of violence and Muslims are belligerents. Moreover, certain laws have further strengthened the hatred and intolerance against Muslims.”

The incident of the city of Nice in November 2020 gave the French authorities another excuse for making more strict laws. Mosques are being monitored under the new set of laws throughout the country with daily surveillance. There is heavy investigation always in the process against the prayer leaders who are adherent of the religious harmony and have nothing to do with the hate speech. The Friday prayer sermons are no longer unsupervised. Even these sermons are to be listened and translated on the spot. Now, forget about the number of arrests that the French forensic teams have in the name of the investigation after every Friday prayer.

All this never ends here, as the Muslims men face the discrimination so the similar proportion of disparaging attitude is there for the Muslims women as well. The educated and civilised French nationals take pride to shout derogatory remarks over any head-scarfed Muslim lady.

“The study shows the date of France ban over the headscarf. It was imposed on April 11, 2011, France became the first European country to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places. Anyone found forcing a woman to cover her face risks a 30,000 euro fine. Data from 2015 showed that 1,546 fines had been imposed under the law.”

Back in 2010, The French Senate passed law provision 1192 which stated: “Law of 2010-1192: Act prohibiting concealment of the face in public space” is an act of parliament passed by the Senate of France on September 14, 2010, resulting in the ban on the wearing of face-covering headgear, including masks, helmets, balaclavas, niqābs and other veils covering the face in public places, except under specified circumstances. The ban also applies to the burqa, a full-body covering, if it covers the face. Consequently, full-body costumes and Zentais (skin-tight garments covering the entire body) were banned. The bill had previously been passed by the National Assembly of France on July 13, 2010. In April 2011, France became the first European country to impose a ban on full-face veils in public areas.

The language and the core subject of these laws depict the prejudice of the French lawmakers towards the Muslim community. Muslims are a community whose identity, religion and the very self-respect is hurt on every other occasion.

France would have started working to eradicate the few extremist elements in society, but it chose a more aggressive method to counter it. Unnecessary laws for the baseless objectives have only ignited anger and disappointment among the Muslims.

In this recent time of development of the human race, the French Nation appears as the superstitious kind.

In December 2020, the French government unveiled a draft law particularly targeting Muslims and aimed at better arming France against ‘Islamist radicalism’, a project promoted by President Emmanuel Macron to root out what he calls “separatists”.

The proposed legislation targets homeschools, mosques or associations that promulgate an ideology running counter to French values, which authorities have called the “Islamist hydra.”

With claims by some that the draft law is too soft or a political manoeuvre by Macron ahead of 2022 presidential elections to capture followers on the far right, it is likely to see debate when it goes before the parliament in coming months.