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WorldWatch Monitor: At least five churches in southeastern Niger were ransacked and burned down Friday by hundreds of Islamist demonstrators angered by a cartoon published by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The Guardian: France spent the weekend coming to terms with last week’s terror attacks in Paristhat left 17 dead. The country mourned, and global leaders joined an estimated 3.7 million people on its streets to march in a show of unity.
Public Discourse: In the wake of Islamist attacks, non-Muslims express concern and confusion not because they are indifferent, but because they are afraid. They want to understand. Muslims have an opportunity to embrace this opportunity for understanding.
RFI: “The 11 town councils won by France’s Front National (FN) in last week’s local elections are to refuse to serve no-pork menus in school canteens, party leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday. The far-right leader also accused a court of bias after it fined her for distributing a leaflet purporting to be from a left-wing rival in a by-election in 2012.”
Yahoo (AP): “Marine Le Pen, whose party is riding a wave of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim voter sentiment around Europe, says it will cut public funds to religious groups in towns where it wins municipal elections this month.”
Associated Press: “The head of the French military mission in Central African Republic says Christians who armed themselves to retaliate against brutal Muslim rebels have become ‘enemies of peace.’”
AP: A French court has convicted a woman for insulting police who ticketed her for wearing a face-covering Muslim veil, banned by French law.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights heard oral arguments (video of full arguments) in S.A.S. v. France, (Application no. 43835/11). As described in a press release from the Court . . .
France24: A proposal by a French official to replace Christian national holidays with those based on Jewish and Muslim festivals has sparked controversy in the country.
RT.com: Leaders of France’s 6 million Muslims have been discouraged by the new ‘secularism charter’ designed to toughen rules banning religion from schools. Critics say it’s unsuitable for modern-day France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population.
Pravda: France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that there was a need to review the country’s migration policy in relation to Africans and questioned the compatibility of Islam and democracy.
AP: French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was stripped of her European Parliament immunity Tuesday and may now face charges of racism over comments she made comparing Muslim street prayers to an occupation of French territory.
Law and Religion UK: The Chamber of the ECtHR to which the application in S.A.S. v France (No. 43835/11) was assigned has relinquished jurisdiction to the Grand Chamber, neither party having objected to relinquishment.
Reuters: In France, the path to radical Islam often begins with a minor offence that throws a young man into an overcrowded, violent jail and produces a hardened convert ready for jihad
Andrew Harrod at The Legal Project: Yet again depictions of Islam’s prophet Muhammad are causing controversy. The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has published a special edition released in January 2013 entitled La Vie de Mahomet, 1ère partie: Les débuts d’un prophète (“The Life of Muhammad, Part One: The Debut of a Prophet”; part two will follow in June 2013). Press reaction in both France and Germany, however, has not been uniformly welcoming, demonstrating once more a media aversion to open examination of Islam.
Reuters: In France, the path to radical Islam often begins with a minor offence that throws a young man into an overcrowded, violent jail and produces a hardened convert ready for jihad.
AP: French President Francois Hollande says he wants a new law that could extend restrictions against wearing of prominent religious symbols in state jobs into the private sector.
Ansamed.info: More than 80% of respondents favor toughening the country’s 2004 law, which bans religious dress and insignia in schools, nurseries, and anywhere that involves the care and education of children. Another 83% is in favor of extending the ban to the private sector, and 16% is against.
Religion Clause Blog: According to France 24, yesterday the Social Chamber of the Cour de Cassation (France’s highest court) ruled that a private nursery school discriminated on the basis of religious belief against a Muslim teacher when it fired her for refusing to remove her hijab while at work.
Ansamed.info: France will expel radical foreign preachers within days, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced Tuesday at an international conference on fighting terrorism and radicalism.
Telegraph: France’s campaign in Mali has escalated into a ground war when troops fought to prevent al-Qaeda and its allies from striking deep inside territory previously under government control.
Reuters: French Muslims have begun joining a mostly Catholic-led movement against same-sex marriage, widening opposition to the reform that the Socialist-led government is set to write into the law by June.
France to promote secularism, steps up struggle against religious radicals – “including traditionalist Catholics”
Reuters: France will deport foreign-born imams and disband radical faith-based groups, including hardline traditionalist Catholics, if a new surveillance policy signals they suffer a “religious pathology” and could become violent.
AP: The French foreign minister says France plans to vote in favor of recognition of a Palestinian state at the U.N. General Assembly this week.
Jewish Press: France, which is home to an estimated six million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the European Union. There are now, in fact, more practicing Muslims in France than there are practicing Roman Catholics.
Reuters: An increasing majority of people in France believe Islam plays too influential a role in their society and almost half see Muslims as a threat to their national identity, according to a poll published on Thursday.
Business Recorder: French authorities vowed Tuesday to show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism as new details emerged of the suspects detained in a crackdown on Islamic extremists who allegedly targeted the Jewish community.
Fox News: Dozens of Iranians angered over an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad published in a weekly in France have attacked the French Embassy in Tehran.
AP: In its boldest development in a generation, the Louvre Museum has a new wing dedicated to Islamic art, a nearly (EURO)100 million ($130 million) project that comes at a tense time between the West and the Muslim world.
Franc24.com: France announced Wednesday it will close 20 embassies across the Muslim world on Friday after French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed naked, amid growing unrest over an anti-Islamic film that has left dozens dead.
Middle East Forum: “Any time young people approach me in order to get married, I ask them various questions about their future. Eighty percent of them say they do not envision any future in France.” This is what one rabbi in Paris told me last week. I heard similar statements from other French rabbis and lay Jewish leaders: “We have a feeling the words are on the wall now,” one leader in the Lyons area confided to me. “It is not just our situation in this country deteriorating; it is also that the process is much quicker than expected.”
Telegraph: “France’s future depends on its ability to reintegrate the suburbs into the national project,” warned respected political scientist Gilles Kepel, a specialist in the Muslim world, in a recent report after a year-long study in Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, two Paris suburbs where the 2005 riots began. The report found that Islamic institutions and practices are increasingly displacing those of the French state, which has failed to deliver on its promise of “equality”, and that residents of the suburbs increasingly do not see themselves as French.
AFP: French Muslim woman has been charged with assault and inciting a riot after she refused a police ID check because she was wearing a banned full-face veil, a police source said Tuesday.
Gatestone Institute: The Socialist government in France has inaugurated a new mega-mosque in Paris as a first step towards “progressively building a French Islam.”
Europe News (Google Translation): An analysis of voting behavior that Hollande on 6 May for the victory as the first Socialist president of France since 1995, helped show that this fall was due to a large extent the Muslims who voted him in overwhelming numbers. The French vote demonstrated for the first time that Muslims have decided the outcome of a presidential election in a major Western European country, there is a view of the things to come.
Religion Clause Blog: In France, after a first-round Presidential vote in which Muslims have been vilified, Muslim leaders– particularly in southeast France– are pressing Muslims to vote in Sunday’s run-off election . . .
FoxCharlotte.com: France says it has expelled an Algerian Islamist extremist and a radical Muslim preache from Mali, and that it is in the process of deporting a Saudi Muslim prayer leader
Fox News: Police departments across the nation and around the world have beefed up security at synagogues following shootings at Jewish sites in France.
The Times of Israel: MK Ya’akov Katz called Monday for Jews to leave France in the wake of a deadly attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse.
B92.net: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said there are too many foreigners in France and the system for integrating them is working “increasingly badly”.
BBC: Muslim and Jewish groups have reacted with dismay after French PM Francois Fillon suggested the religious slaughter of animals was out of date.
Religion Clause: France’s 1905 law on the separation of church and state bars creating municipal cemeteries limited to only one religion. This means that cities have been limited to setting aside Muslim-only sections in existing cemeteries.
Religion Clause: In France, the Green Party candidate for President, Eva Joly, has created a controversy by proposing that Jews and Muslims should be given the right to take off work or school on their major holidays.
Stonegate Institute: New citizenship rules that entered into effect on January 1, 2012 will require all applicants to pass exams on French culture and history and also to prove that their French language skills are equivalent to those of a 15-year-old native speaker. Moreover, candidates seeking French citizenship will be required to pledge allegiance to “French values.”
France24.com: France’s infamous ‘polygamous Muslim butcher’ was back in the headlines Monday, this time because two of his supposed wives were caught wearing the niqab, or full Muslim veil, on the school run. The development is the latest twist in a surreal tale that we have yet to hear the last of.
News from The Associated Press: The satirical French newspaper whose offices were firebombed this week fought back Friday against efforts to interrupt its operations, starting a blog and publishing more copies of a controversial edition.
RFI: A French court has ruled that a private nursery had the right to fire an employee for wearing Islamic head-cover, leading its lawyer to hail an advance for secular forces in the country.
Europe News: A French court Thursday cancelled a construction permit for a mega-mosque in the southern city of Marseille that had been touted as a potential symbol of Islam’s growing place in France
AHN: They said they would appeal the fines to France’s highest court and to the European Court of Human Rights. Their fines were paid by the civil rights group Don’t Touch My Constitution, which predicted the European Court of Human Rights would sanction France for its ban on Muslim veils.
News from The Associated Press: Kenza Drider’s posters for the French presidential race are ready to go, months before the official campaign begins. There she is, the “freedom candidate,” pictured standing in front of a line of police – a forbidden veil hiding her face.
NYTimes.com: A ban on street prayer came into force on Friday, driving thousands of Muslim worshipers in northern Paris into an improvised prayer site in an old fire brigade barracks, angering a small but vocal minority.
The Associated Press: For years, Muslims by the hundreds, dodging foot and vehicle traffic, have unfurled rugs on northern Paris sidewalks and put their foreheads to the ground outside two mosques for Friday prayers — for the simple reason that there’s not enough space inside.
Hudson New York: Islamic mosques are being built more often in France than Roman Catholic churches, and there now are more practising Muslims in the country than practising Catholics. Nearly 150 new mosques currently are under construction in France, home to the biggest Muslim community in Europe.
Islamist Watch: Though France is the pace setter, efforts to impose burqa bans, both broad and narrow, press on across the West. The following is a quick and by no means exhaustive update on recent attempts . . .
Washington Post: France would need to demonstrate terrorist threat overides women’s right to veil the face for religious reasoons . . .
The Telegraph: Police in France have admitted they will be enforcing the country’s new burka ban “extremely cautiously” because of fears of provoking violence.
Bloomberg: French law banning facial veils in public places goes into effect April 11, with women clad in burqas with their faces covered risking a 150-euro ($214) fine and mandatory lessons on being French. “No one is allowed to wear a garment that hides the face in public places,” the law, passed in October, proclaims.
Expatica.com: France warned that it would not tolerate a “wave of Tunisian immigration” after Italy on Thursday granted humanitarian permits to thousands of Tunisians allowing them to travel around Europe.
Boston Globe (AP): President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing conservative party held a politically charged conference Tuesday on ways to strengthen secularism in French society, amid worries it would stigmatize France’s millions of Muslims.
AP: “For Muslim women who cover their faces with veils, it is the moment for making plans. Starting April 11, a new law banning garments that hide the face takes effect. Women who disobey it risk a fine, special classes and a police record.”
Rose McDermott writes at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): Polygamy—or more specifically polygyny, the marriage of one man to more than one woman—has been widespread in human history. And it is becoming increasingly common, particularly in Muslim enclaves—including in Paris, London and New York.
The National: The French government is resisting mounting pressure to abandon a planned debate on Islam that has split the ruling party, dismayed Muslims and united leaders of all the country’s main religions in firm opposition.
AP: “France’s chief religions are protesting plans by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative party to hold a debate next week on Islam’s role in the country, joining a growing chorus of voices who fear it could stigmatize Muslims and worsen social tensions.”
Catholic Culture: Muslims in France have asked for the use of empty Catholic churches, saying that this would “prevent Muslims from having to pray in the streets.” Father Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit expert on Islam, explains why the proposal is absurd. | Related AsiaNews.it