France sees wave of protests amid Islamophobia, police bill

Nationwide protests continued in France Sunday, with demonstrators marching against Islamophobia and a controversial bill that has been criticized for targeting Muslims.
Demonstrators took to the streets in the capital Paris, Marseille, Lille, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lyon. Chanting slogans against Islamophobia, the crowd marched from Chatelet Square to Republique Square in Paris under the leadership of the collective Front Against Islamophobia and for Equal Rights for All.
“The French government has targeted Muslims, even Islam, and is interfering with Islamic practices. This is too much. We condemn the (government’s) colonialist and neo-colonial approach,” Omar Slaouti, the organizer of the demonstration, told Anadolu Agency. Slaouti said the protests will continue against the so-called “separatism” bill.
Ismael al-Hajri, one of the protesters, said: “We are against all the attacks of Islamophobic policies carried out by the government for 10 years. This is a bill that restricts freedoms and will result in further discrimination against women with headscarves and Muslim women (in general).”
Approved by the National Assembly on Feb. 16 this year, the bill will be debated in the Senate on March 30. It is expected to return to the National Assembly after a vote is held. It was introduced by Macron last year to fight so-called “Islamist separatism.”
The bill is being criticized because it targets the Muslim community and imposes restrictions on almost every aspect of their lives. It provides for intervening in mosques and the associations responsible for their administration as well as controlling the finances of associations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) belonging to Muslims. It also restricts the education choices of the Muslim community by preventing families from giving children home education. The bill also prohibits patients from choosing doctors based on gender for religious or other reasons and makes “secularism education” compulsory for all public officials.

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