France is officially a secular country with separation of church and state. There is no state religion and everyone is free to believe or not believe as they wish. The expression of religious faith is permitted within the boundaries of public order. All creeds are respected and treated equally under the law. But, unlike America which has true religious freedom and allows religion in the public square so long as one religion is not favored over another, the principles underlying France’s 1905 Laïcité laws call for the cleansing of religion from State functions and institutions. Therefore, despite the fact that France’s Constitution claims otherwise, secularism reigns supreme over faith.
Secular France wants nothing to do with religion. Yet, it has been forced to grapple with its increasing Islamization that appears to be spinning out of control. The French Education Minister has a new plan to push back: a secularism charter in every public school. However, France’s misguided efforts are unlikely to solve the problem.
In recent years, France’s secular underpinnings have been challenged. Largely due to faulty immigration policies, France is quickly becoming the most Islamized country in Europe. Approximately 200,000 people immigrate legally into France every year, and another 200,000 people immigrate illegally. Currently, approximately 10 percent of France’s population is Muslim (an estimated 4.7 – 10 million people) and the numbers are rising.
Muslim immigrants pose a severe threat to French secularism and therefore to the nation’s identity. Many Muslim immigrants show little interest in assimilating, learning French, or integrating into mainstream society.
Increasingly, Islamic institutions and practices are replacing French secular traditions. Muslim University students are demanding separation of the sexes, excused absences for religious reasons, and pressuring universities to alter their curriculums.
In some areas, there are Muslim enclaves governed by Sharia law. In these “no-go zones” government officials have de facto relinquished control. Police, firemen, and even ambulances refrain from entry. At last count, France had 751 “Sensitive Urban Zones”, as these areas are euphemistically called.
The French are loosing control in other regions of the country as well to groups of Muslims who regularly violate State laws. For example, in some locales Muslims block traffic and fill the streets for Jummah prayers on Fridays, in violation of French law. Yet, the police stand idly by. There are numerous other examples along the same lines.
In recent years, the French government has been trying to push back against the Islamization of its country. It has introduced several initiatives in an attempt to enforce its secular principles.
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By: Deborah Weiss
September 13, 2013