Main content

Is Macron marginalising France's Muslims?

Critics say the French president's new law is against the spirit of laïcité, secularism

French President Emmanuel Macron has described Islam as 'a religion in crisis.' This week he presented draft legislation to cabinet ministers aimed at tackling radical elements and propping up ‘republican values’. Among the proposed measures are curbs on foreign funding for mosques and imams, new rules making it harder for children to be home-schooled, and fresh attempts to root out and prevent forced marriages. While the government has planned the policies for some time, it is publishing details just weeks after a pair of deadly terrorist attacks, including the beheading of a history teacher - Samuel Paty - who showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his students, and the killing of three churchgoers in Nice. But with the French presidential election less than 18-months away - and with the far-right politician Marine Le Pen thought to be one of Mr Macron’s greatest obstacles to re-election - many French Muslims have accused the government of unfairly targeting their community and using the national tradition of laïcité - or secularism - as an excuse to do so. France’s Muslim population has grown significantly since Algerian independence in 1962, as has the debate over ‘French values’. So are Muslims now being exploited for political gain, or are the new proposals a common-sense response to serious problems? Ritula Shah and guests discuss whether the French government is marginalising Muslims.

Available now

53 minutes

Last on

Sat 12 Dec 2020 00:06GMT


Rim-Sarah Alouane - French human rights researcher, University of Toulouse 

Bruno Bonnell - MP for governing La République En Marche! party  

Philippe Marliere - Professor of French and European Politics at University College London 

Also featuring ...

Liam Duffy - consultant, Counter Extremism Project 


Friday prayer at the Grand Mosque of Paris, France. Credit EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA 


  • Fri 11 Dec 2020 10:06GMT
  • Sat 12 Dec 2020 00:06GMT

The Real Story Podcast

The Real Story Podcast

Subscribe via your favourite podcast app...