French President Emmanuel Macron Friday called Islam “a religion that is in crisis all over the world,” in a speech addressing what he calls “separatism” in France’s Islamic community.
In remarks delivered in the western Paris suburb of Les Mureaux, Macron said Islam is a religion in deep crisis worldwide, even in countries where it is the majority religion, because of “tensions between fundamentalism and political projects … that lead to very strong radicalization.”
The French president said in France there is a “parallel society” of radical Muslims thriving outside the values of the nation, a “separatism” as he describes it, that thrives in some neighborhoods around the country, where Muslims with a radical vision of their religion take control of the local population to inculcate their beliefs.
But Macron said everyone can share in the blame for this so-called separatism.
“We ourselves have built our own separatism, that of our neighborhoods. This is the ghettoization that our republic, initially with the best intentions in the world, allowed to take place,” said the French leader Friday.
He noted France’s concentration of populations into districts according to their origins, which has also concentrated educational and economic difficulties as well.
Macron said where French secular society failed Islamic youth, radicals stepped in.
The French president said the government will offer legislation in December to “reinforce secularism and consolidate republican principles.”
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He called secularism “the cement of a united France,” and added: “Let us not fall into the trap laid by … extremists, who aim to stigmatize all Muslims.”
During his speech, Macron repeatedly stressed the importance of schools in instilling secular values in young people and said that the government would require private schools to agree to teach them. Beginning next year, with few exceptions, the 50,000 French children who are currently educated at home would be required to attend school with fellow students, he said.
The bill would include additional education funding as well.
The remarks come as a trial is underway in Paris over the deadly January 2015 attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket by French-born Islamic extremists. Last week, a man from Pakistan stabbed two people near Charlie Hebdo’s former offices in anger over its publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.