Macron draws fire as admirer flouts law over Islamic face veil

first_imgBut while surrounded by police during a neighbourhood tour beforehand, a young woman wearing a burgundy niqab walked up to him through the crowd, a scene caught on camera and soon posted to social media.She then removed the lower part of the veil for a selfie with the president, who obliged as usual with a wide smile.The official fines of up to 150 euros ($160) for wearing clothing denoting a religious affiliation are only rarely applied, which has long irked rightwing parties accusing officials of being too lax against so-called Islamic separatism.A lawmaker from the far-right National Rally party, Bruno Bilde, assailed Macron for “letting this person flagrantly violate the law of 2010”. “Before attempting to win back the republic [from Islamists], we must apply the republic’s laws,” he said in a question submitted to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, expected to again be Macron’s main adversary in presidential elections set for 2022, had already demanded to know Tuesday if the young woman “had been stopped by police, as the law requires?”During his speech, Macron announced a series of steps to counter “foreign influences” on Islam in France, notably by gradually expelling the roughly 300 imams currently sent to preach in France by countries including Algeria and Turkey.France will also step up its oversight of foreigners brought in to teach optional language classes, who currently are subject to limited oversight by French authorities.”The problem we have today with this system is that we have more and more teachers who don’t speak French,” Macron said.Taking aim at Turkey particularly, he said he would let “no country stoke separatism on French soil, whether religious, political or identity-related”.Turkey’s parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop hit back on Wednesday, accusing Macron of “primitive islamophobia”. Critics argue that in some French immigrant communities, Arabic teachers encourage extremist ideas that could radicalise young people, a potent fear in a country hit by a wave of Islamic terror attacks since 2015 which have killed more than 250 people.Topics : Far-right lawmakers took aim at French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday after a woman wearing a full-face veil approached him ahead of a speech announcing new measures to fight Islamic “separatism” in the country.Such veils, known as niqabs, have become a political lightning rod in France since 2010, when it became the first European country to ban them in public.Critics say their use underscores the push by some Muslims to live apart from traditional French society, something Macron vowed to combat in a speech on Tuesday in Mulhouse, eastern France.last_img

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