Separatism bill: end of the first act in the Assembly

A solemn vote, the epilogue of two weeks of intense debate: the deputies vote on Tuesday at first reading on the bill against Islamist “separatism”, behind which the majority should largely side with but considered too weak or irrelevant by the oppositions .

“We have subjects of divergence” in the majority but “it (the law) will be strongly adopted Tuesday (afternoon) without there being any disorder”, summarized the leader of the LREM deputies, Christophe Castaner .

In the shade of a topicality crushed by the upheavals of the health crisis, the “walkers” have been able to avoid the trap of division on a material which is however highly flammable.

Often mobilized in the hemicycle around a project promised to many vicissitudes, they defended a text of “balance” even if this position was dented by a recent media release by Gerald Darmanin.

The Minister of the Interior suggested that Marine Le Pen was “softer” than the majority in the fight against Islamism.

(AFP / Archives – Christophe ARCHAMBAULT)

Awkward display of firmness or a nod to the far-right electorate? The LREM pundits hastened to qualify Mr. Darmanin’s statement. And the minister launched this weekend the procedure for the dissolution of the ultra-right group Generation Identity, as a response to his detractors.

Wanted by Emmanuel Macron, the bill confirming respect for the principles of the Republic sets part of his speech at Les Mureaux (Yvelines) on October 2, 2020, which detailed his program against Islamist separatism.

Presented as the remedy against the “Islamist OPA”, the bill contains a battery of measures on the neutrality of the public service, the fight against online hatred, the supervision of family education – ultimately the most discussed -, reinforced control of associations, better transparency of religions and their funding, and even the fight against virginity certificates, polygamy or forced marriages.

Rich in some 70 articles, the text gave rise to 80 hours of debates and the adoption of 144 amendments. His detractors accuse him of being “talkative” and “catch-all”.

It touches on several fundamental freedoms such as those organizing education or associations and changes the totemic law of 1905 on the separation of Churches and State.

The law “worries believers”, observes the Catholic daily La Croix.

– March 30 in the Senate –

Minister of Citizenship Marlène Schiappa at the National Assembly on February 5, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives - Ludovic MARIN)
Minister of Citizenship Marlène Schiappa at the National Assembly on February 5, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives – Ludovic MARIN)

By announcing future measures in favor of equal opportunities, the executive seems to have succeeded in defusing the reproaches of the left wing of LREM regretting the absence of a social component to this bill promoted above all as a text of ‘”public order”.

The left regretted a “one-legged” text which only works on the repressive side. For the patron saint of socialist deputies, Valérie Rabault, the law does not provide “an answer to ghettoization” and “the PS will abstain from voting”.

Much more offensive in the debates, the LFI group pounded a text of “stigmatization of Muslims” and generally irrelevant on secularism.

“What is especially shocking in this text are the absences. Yes, there is a separatism in this country, a school and territorial separatism, but this text does not address it”, deplores Alexis Corbière.

For its part, the right lashes out at a law that it considers too weak because it does not address subjects such as the veil, radicalization in prison or immigration. But not all LRs are up against the text.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer at the National Assembly on February 9, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives - Ludovic MARIN)
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer at the National Assembly on February 9, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives – Ludovic MARIN)

“It’s a small law on a big subject”, summarizes Julien Ravier.

In the Senate, where the bill must be examined in session from March 30, Bruno Retailleau, leader of the majority right, intends to remove the controversial article on home schooling, introduce the notion of “Islamist separatism “and the ban on the veil in public places.

At the RN, Marine Le Pen blasted a “political retreat” and the far-right deputies should “a priori abstain”, according to Sébastien Chenu.

Nearly 200 people demonstrated in Paris on Sunday against the bill accused of “reinforcing discrimination against Muslims”.

Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by

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