No to the Islamophobic and ‘liberticide’ law
Our organizations, some of which bring together a large number of people of Muslim faith and culture, make the bitter observation that once again Islamophobia is mobilized at the highest level of the State with the bill "against separatism", a law which in fact is precisely a separatist and racist law.
With inordinate cynicism, the government uses terrorism, its victims and our emotions to make every Muslim an enemy from within. From hunting down so-called "weak signals" to focusing on the wearing of the headscarf, through a rain of amendments to this bill, our lives, customs, practices, and faith are spied on, tracked down, dissected, essentialized, stigmatized, and inferiorized. It is this status of sub-citizenship that allows searches outside of any judicial framework, searches that, moreover, are totally ineffective against terrorism, as the public authorities know, and whose sole objective, according to the Minister of the Interior, is to give a signal. Undoubtedly, a signal to terrorize a part of us, but also a signal to an electorate inclined to vote on islamophobic positions. The Muslims of this country can no longer bear to be reduced to an electoral adjustment variable. We refuse that this bill, which should be discussed until the next presidential election, serves as a springboard for the most audacious Islamophobes, always ready to outbid for power. We refuse that Islam and Muslims be exposed to the public hatred during the debates at a time when the health, social, economic and ecological crises and emergencies are worsening.
The government is instrumentalizing secularism by diverting it from its original spirit and letter of 1905 in order to put the Muslim cult under trusteeship and interfere in its organization, an interference that would not concern other cults, as Mr. Darmanin (1) himself pointed out. As such, he arrogates to himself the right to designate for and in the place of Muslims those who are worthy to represent us, as during the colonial period. He threatens Muslim federations, mosques... forcing them to submit to a charter of principles contrary to the very principles of secularism and to the freedom of protest, on pain of administrative dissolution, outside the legal framework. Instead of common law, administrative arbitrariness and a right of exception are exercised.
The government instrumentalizes gender inequalities, which are structural and yet span all social spaces, including those of power, only to see them, denounce them, hypertrophize them, and often invent them in practices related to Islam alone; ignoring the words and experiences of those concerned, of Muslim faith and culture. At the same time, it organizes the total erasure of Muslim women, to the point of questioning their right to wear the veil in the public space.
The government is using the rule of law to undermine our rights, especially the first of them, the freedom of conscience, the freedom to believe or not to believe. The Minister of the Interior goes so far as to require a believer to put "the laws of the Republic above the law of God", which is a confounding absurdity, all the more so since his role is to ensure that the laws of the Republic are respected without having to recognize other laws, precisely in the name of the neutrality of the State. Freedom of worship is threatened, as the National Commission for Human Rights (CNCDH) points out, among other things, by a prior declaration in the prefecture, to be renewed every 5 years, which is a case of "unjustified mistrust", to use its own words.
This bill attacks the rights of associations, and not only those that fall under the heading of worship, even though they are subject to the respect of republican laws by virtue of their declaration in the prefecture: it requires them to sign a republican commitment contract, again offering an interpretation of its non-respect sufficiently broad for any prefect to dissolve them at will, to financially dry them out, to withdraw their approval, to oppose the hiring of young people within them. For them too, freedom of expression is threatened and recourse to non-violent civil disobedience will be interpreted as "disturbing public order”. It is not surprising that the Defender of Rights is concerned that this project is part of an "overall strengthening of social order". It is not surprising that many of us, because we are Muslims, are paralysed by this Islamophobia that the leaders initiated. Macron himself summoned the "trickle-down theory" which, in practice, would lead to a distribution of wealth from the richest to the poorest, especially in rural areas and working-class neighborhoods. Instead, he proposes a tsunami of racist and liberticidal rhetoric and laws such as those on separatism and global security.
We call on you to join the Front Against Islamophobia and for Equal Rights for All.
We will demonstrate throughout France on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Do not be afraid! It is about defending our rights, our freedoms, our dignity.
(1) Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior.
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