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Islamophobia Is Spreading Faster Than the Virus

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Protesting against Islamophobia

Google defines phobia as “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.” But what can we say about IslamoPHOBIA? Google defines it as a “dislike of or prejudices against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.”

But what do they hate Islam for? It does nothing except guide people to live better while mending the world to become a better place. However, not everyone is capable of understanding good things. Or some people can be easily brainwashed to believe something which is not valid. Islam is peaceful, but it is pretty easy to fabricate things and promote Islamophobia. This is precisely what is happening nowadays around the world.

Not Only Europeans but Also Asians Are Islamophobic

Most Europeans are Islamophobic even though they have no idea what Islam is all about. Nowadays, the phobia has traveled to Asian countries, too. To be specific, India is playing its best to wipe off Indian Muslims from the country. But if we just take a look at Indian history, we can clearly see how many Muslim leaders and professionals have worked hard to make India better.

Not only India but also Sri Lanka deals with Islamophobia behind closed doors. Even though Sri Lankan Islamophobic acts have not caught the eyes of the public, it happens. Sri Lankan Muslims suffer even though it’s a little less than Indians. But how can we rate suffering? Is it a competition or something? Here’s a recent Islamophobic act that happened in Sri Lanka, which will leave you breathless.

This is just a glimpse of what Sri Lankan Muslims face, but there are myriad untold stories. Living with the fear of harassment and bullying isn’t easy, but Muslims get the courage to overcome all these because of their faith. When we believe in Allah, everything else becomes easy.

Why Muslims Receive so Much Hatred

New Zealand’s Christchurch attack was dreadful. People were struggling to overcome the trauma for days, weeks, and months. The attack was pulled on Muslims just because they followed Islam. But the attack didn’t limit to Christchurch; rather, it kept happening over and over in different countries. Some news hit the public eye, whereas some news vanished into thin air.

Even though the Christchurch attack was recent, hatred towards Muslims aggravated since the 9/11 incident. Muslims were scapegoated for the incident that happened years back, and they are still struggling.

Most Muslim immigrants fear every single day of their lives. Even though they have migrated to lead a better life, their religious beliefs have become threats. Yet, Muslims don’t give up on their religion just because they face racism. They understand every struggle accompanies a blessing, so they wait patiently.

For example, protests concerning the Delhi riot in India weren’t disturbing because the protests were peaceful. But the Police took stern actions against the protestors and the Muslims in Delhi. It looks like India is getting ready for another significant genocide.

However, hatred towards Muslims comes from high profiles, so easing it requires a lot of courage and strength. But not a leaf falls without Allah’s knowledge, so if Muslims are struggling, it means that good times are ahead. Allah knows what we know not. Donald Trump can ban Muslims from entering the country, and Boris Johnson can insult Muslim women, but nothing can cause a threat to the religion of peace because we believe in Allah.

When we are finding the reason for the hatred Muslims receive, we are left with no solid reason. Some hate Muslims because they think immigrant Muslims will invade their country. Some others assume that Islam will be forcefully imposed on them. Meanwhile, some don’t know about Islam or have Muslim connections, yet they hate Muslims. Likewise, there are so many absurd reasons to hate Muslims.

But Muslims should remember one thing: whatever you are facing, and wherever you are now, Allah has planned it all.   

How Can Muslims Combat Islamophobia

Combating Islamophobia can be depressing. Plus, combating it with kindness might annoy you, but certain things need to be dealt with in a certain way.

 “Good and evil cannot be equal. Repel evil with what is better, and your enemy will become as close as an intimate friend.” (Quran, 41:34)

As the Quran mentions, we, Muslims, shouldn’t deal with hatred. Islam doesn’t promote anger or violence. Instead, it teaches us to be patient and kind. For example, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sympathetic to the lady who threw garbage at him even though he could have reacted worse. Prophet opted to be kind than angry, so as the followers of Islam, we need to follow in his footsteps.

Of course, there have been wars in Islam for reasonable reasons. But these are not medieval times to wage wars. So we, Muslims who can think reasonably, can come up with better ways to combat Islamophobia.

If someone is outpouring hatred, you can choose to react with love. For example, if someone on social media is targeting you because you are a Muslim, you can quote Islamic ways of handling hatred.

One of the best examples of how Muslims shouldn’t react to Islamophobia is how netizens reacted to Mila Orriols. The 16-year-old schoolgirl from France got into an argument with a man online, and when the argument got severe, she commented, “the Quran is a religion of hatred.” Her comment itself weighs her knowledge about Islam. However, the comment went viral, and she started receiving hate messages that ultimately required police intervention.

We are trying to say that if some Muslims had reacted differently, as we mentioned, maybe there would have been some difference. Or Mila herself would have taken some time to learn what Islam is all about.

You are the best tool to show what Islam is. You have to act and behave as Islam suggests so that people around you get inspired and understand Islam. Most Islamophobic people wouldn’t have Muslim neighbors or friends, yet they would hate Islam. They might follow the herd so that they belong somewhere. Let us make it clear; you don’t have to follow the herd if they are walking in the wrong direction. The wrong doesn’t become right just because a group of people does it.

“O Aisha, Allah is gentle, and He loves gentleness, and He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness, and He does not reward anything else like it.” (Source: Sahih Muslim 2593) 

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Rasmus Baludan is racist, Ignoramus, provocateur, and liar

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Rasmus Paludan burning Quran.

Seeking to become a publicity hound before contesting elections in Sweden, scheduled for September,  the right-wing Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Baludan has apparently decided to recruit supporters and fans by resorting to an unlikely and un-classical method: Setting copies of the Holy Quran on fire.

Rasmus Baludan, the racist hoodlum, hoped and probably still hopes that by showing off his Islamophobia by provoking Muslims and offending their religious sensibilities, he would woo supporters and potential voters in Sweden. To his chagrin,  the vast majority of people in Denmark and Sweden ignored him.  In the Swedish city of Jonkoping,  A priest named Reverend Fredrik Hol drowned out an inflammatory anti-Islam rally by Baludan by ringing his church bells.

The feat succeeded in shutting up the racist harangue for some time. On behalf of nearly 1800 million adherents of Islam, I would like to salute Reverend Hol and thank him for his sublime gesture and noble behaviour.

Also Read: UN International Day to Combat Islamophobia: A Recognition to Hardships for the Muslims

 Moreover, a special expression of gratitude goes to our Christian brothers and sisters in Sweden and Denmark who refused to allow the good name of Jesus Christ to be besmirched by the germ of bigotry, racism, and fanaticism. Jesus wouldn’t stir up fitna ( tumult and turmoil) to attract voters and get elected.

Baludan reportedly intends to run in the upcoming Swedish elections, scheduled for next September. However,  he seems to have failed to secure enough signatures to run for office, prompting observers to suggest that he may have taken the provocative act of burning copies of the Holy Quran, in order to woo Swedish voters.

In the 2018 elections in Denmark, Rasmus Baludan’s party “Straam Cox”,failed to win a single seat in Parliament, He was imprisoned in 2020 in Denmark for one month reportedly after being convicted of racism.

Also Read: Combating Racism – Lived Experiences

I  believe setting the religious scripture of Islam on fire, besides being an uncivilized and outrageous act, is an expression of extreme ignorance and intolerance.

After all, there is absolutely nothing in the Quran that denigrates Jesus and his immaculate chaste mother, Mary.” The opposite is true, Jesus is celebrated in the Quran as one of the five greatest messengers of God, who include beside him, Noah,  Abraham Moses and Muhammed.

  Interestingly, the fool of Copenhagen or Stockholm invoked the mantra of freedom of expression to justify his repulsive misdeed.

Well, what about the right to be free from being insulted and offended?


Doesn’t one’s freedom end, when another person’s freedom begins? In Matthew 5:29 we read “If thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out and cast it away from you.”

Thus, freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, otherwise, words soon morph into bullets and bombs,  and bloodshed is the inevitable outcome of this folly.

Furthermore, life is not a straightforward mathematical equation. Besides the proscribed rights and privileges, there are other paramount values in life that are not recorded in a law book,  such as respect, humility, kindness,  tolerance, love, and wisdom.

Also Read Bike of Life: How to ride, survive, and Cheer!

Rasmus Baludan, instead of behaving like Peter the hermit who incited  Europe against the Muslim near East, about a thousand years ago, causing the death of millions of people in the infamous Crusades, should behave like a messenger of love and peace. The Prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessing of God be upon him) said in the authentic Hadith: You will not be able to win the hearts of people with your money, so win them with your love, kindness, and sound morality.

Also Read: Why Humanity Should Be Thankful to Prophet Muhammad

Finally, a few words to my Muslim brothers and sisters

Don’t be provoked by fools like Rasmus Baludan. Don’t lose your calm and composure, for this is his exact aim. This is because once you lose your mental equanimity, you let Satan take over you.

Remember this Aya “And do not insult those who invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” [6:108]

I am not suggesting that we should succumb to apathy and passivity and do nothing. But we should do much more than just vent our frustration and indignation. For the sake of Islam, and in order to triumph over such fanatic ignoramuses, we often need to suppress our frustration.

More to the point, we must exhaust all efforts to cooperate with people of goodwill regardless of creed and ethnicity. Needless to say,  this is undoubtedly a vital and crucial dimension for our

Success.

Also Read: 2 Billion Muslims must send a Stern warning to India’s Nazi-like government to stop its anti-Islam discourse

Moreover,  remember that every people under the sun has their own bran, and Rasmus Baludan should be viewed as the bran of his people. And yes, we are not perfect ourselves as we do have people like him or even worse!

In fact, it is absolutely unwise and immensely damaging for Muslims, especially Muslim expatriates in the West, to erupt in fury every time an anti-Islam villain provokes Muslims by making a stupid, offensive slur, or desecrating Islamic symbols, or even burning a copy of Islam’s Holy Book.  The Quran is preserved in our hearts, and no idiot or little man can extricate the word of Allah from a believer’s heart.  Indeed, instead of displaying convulsive rage, and shouting meaningless and pugnacious slogans, we should behave with serenity, calm, and dignity lest we inadvertently convey to the world a damaging message about ourselves and about our great religion. And if we don’t behave, we will have only ourselves to blame, since the vast majority of non-Muslims don’t distinguish between what Islam says and what some Muslims do.

Also Read: Islam in 2075: World’s Largest Religion!?

So, let the dogs keep barking, and the caravan keep going. For if stones are thrown at the barking dogs, they will only bark more loudly and become more aggressive and ferocious.

Remember, nothing, absolutely nothing would hurt and disappoint these hoodlums more than your self-composure and non-violent reactions, and nothing would please them more than your screams and indulgence in violence, verbal and otherwise.

Display Islam’s glorious message, and never act on your primitive impulses and defensive reflexes for revenge.

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India: School Principal Booked After Students Recite Iqbal’s Poem- What Makes Muhammad Iqbal a Contentious Figure in India?

School Principal booked after students recite Iqbal’s Poem- What makes Muhammad Iqbal a Contentious figure in India?

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After the great poet Muhammad Iqbal’s poem “Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua” was recited by students during the morning assembly, a video of the event went viral, leading to the arrest of the principal of a government school and a Shiksha Mitra in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. The Education Department has also placed Shiksha Mitra Wazeeruddi under investigation and suspended the school’s principal, Nahid Siddiqui. “Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua”, also known as “Bachche Ki Dua” (A child’s prayer), is an Urdu language dua, or prayer, in verse form authored by Muhammad Iqbal in 1902. The poem has been set to music and sung in morning school assemblies in Pakistan as well as India.

While far-right groups have been using this and similar incidents in order to demonize Iqbal for quite some time, Muhammad Iqbal has become a contentious figure in India for many more reasons. Muhammad Iqbal is also known for writing the most popular patriotic song of India “Saare Jahan se acha Hindustan humara” (Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan), which he also called “Tarana-e-Hind” (Song of India).

Also, read The Crises of Multiculturalism In Europe And The Question Of The Muslim Immigration

School Principal booked in UP

A First Information Report was filed against Siddiqui and Wazeeruddin at the Fareedpur police station in response to a complaint made by Sompal Singh Rathore, a local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) official, who claimed that a “religious prayer” was recited at the public school in an effort to convert the children. He also alleged that the principal “made” the students recite the Islamic prayer with the purpose of offending Hindu sensibilities. Police have filed the FIR against the two instructors under sections 298 (deliberate intention to wound religious sentiments) and 153(provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after taking notice of the complaint.

The complaint was lodged by Sompal Singh Rathore, a local leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an Indian right-wing Hindu organization based on Hindu nationalism. According to Rathore, students should be made to recite the Indian national anthem and “Saraswati Vandana” (a Hindu mantra for goddess Saraswati that is recited for music, knowledge, and wisdom). Instead, they were forced to chant “Mere Allah Burai Se Bachana Mujhko” (O Allah, protect me from evil) by the headmaster.

Read here, The Scope of inter-religious pluralism within Islam

Controversy over Iqbal- The Second Incident in Four Years

This is not the first time that a school head has been terminated because of a prayer. This is the second time in four years that a local VHP worker filed this type of complaint. Three years ago, in October 2019 a VHP worker alleged that the headmaster of a government primary school in the Bisalpur neighborhood of Pilibhit had forced students to recite a religious prayer that is typically recited in madrasas. As a result, the headmaster was subsequently suspended. The students also recited “Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua” by Allama Iqbal in that instance. Later, the headmaster was reinstated but moved to a different institution.

Soon after the complaint was lodged and the incident made it to the news, BJP spokespersons took to social media to support the FIR. Anyone who called out the absurdity of the complaint started to get trolled by BJP spokespersons and supporters who called these people anti-nationalists and supporters of a communal leader like Iqbal. Right-wing groups started demonizing Iqbal by calling him a bigot and father of the two-nation theory and a staunch advocate for the creation of Pakistan.

When a popular Indian journalist Rajdeep Sardesai took to his Twitter handle to express his disappointment with the incident, he was severely trolled. One BJP supporter and journalist even wrote an article dedicated to “demystifying” the myth of Iqbal’s pedestalization by the Indian left and Indian Muslims.

“While the nation and especially those advocating secularism know Iqbal only for writing ‘Sare Jaha Se Accha, Hindustan Hamara’, there’s much more to him that they conveniently sweep under the rug, which includes Tarana-e-Milli and the formation of Pakistan . . . The Islamic fundamentalist nature of Muhammad Iqbal became entirely evident as he wrote, ‘Cīn o-ʿArab hamārā, Hindūstāṉ hamārā, Muslim haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai sārā jahāṉ hamārā’ ”, the article mentioned.

Read here, Israeli Filmmaker Nadav Lapid Sparks Outrage in India after calling <em>The Kashmir Files</em> “Vulgar Propaganda”

Who is Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) ?

Iqbal, one of the most prominent figures in Urdu literature during the first three decades of the 20th century, transitioned from writing about subjects that were specifically Indian and reflective of pluralism and multiculturalism to using worldwide realities to arouse, stimulate, and encouraging the imagination of Indian Muslims. Through his stirring poetry, he was one of the first to teach socialism and the socialist movement to young people in India. In addition, he added contemporary philosophical ideas that he had learned about while studying in Europe and greatly expanded the range of the educated Muslim intellectual discourse while keeping it bound to their essentially Islamic roots. He advocated “socialism” cloaked in Islam in his fiery rallies against the powers of capitalism and imperialism.

Poems like “Masjide-e-Qartaba” (The Mosque at Cordoba) and “O Ghafil Afghan” (O Heedless Afghan), written by a celebrated and lauded poet like Muhammad Iqbal, fueled a rising fear that a “grave disaster” was waiting to strike the Muslims of the sub-continent. Iqbal was one of the first to notice the struggles that the Indian Muslims were experiencing on account of their religion, and to include it in his poetry. The fate of his fellow Muslims in various colonized lands seemed to foretell even worse things for Muslims in India, who were a minority in a colonized Hindu majority population.  

Upon the formation of Pakistan, he was honored as its national poet, as well as earning the titlesMufakkir-e-Pakistan’ (thinker of Pakistan), Hakeem-ul-Ummat (sage of the Ummah), and Shayar-e-Mashriq (poet of the east).

Also, read How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir

The Vilification of Muhammad Iqbal

The most well-known of Iqbal’s many works is the timeless “Saare jahan se achcha Hindustan hamara,” which he wrote in 1904 and which became one of the songs that propelled Indian independence fighters against British authority. The right-wing groups vilifying Iqbal keep reinforcing that after writing “Tarana-e-Hind” (song of India) in 19004 he went on to write “Tarana-e-Milli” (song of the community) in 1910. They use this example to display the contradiction between the India-loving patriot that he is thought of instead of the Muslim bigot and the father of the two-nation theory that he turned out to be.

The Tarana-e-Hind and the Tarana-e-Milli show the progression from “Hindi hain hum watan hai Hindustan hamara” (We are the people of Hind and Hindustan is our homeland) to “Muslim hain hum watan hai sara jahan hamara” (We are Muslim the whole world is our homeland). However, it might be worthwhile to consider his body of work as a whole to try and understand the movement in his poetic thought. Iqbal’s history and poetic career can be split into three phases. The first one is his patriotic poetry dedicated to the Indian nation and patriotism from 1901 to 1905, after which he did philosophical poetry from 1905 to 1908, and eventually, his work and poetry focused on the Muslim community from 1908 to 1938.

Iqbal is considered to have given the vision for the creation of Pakistan, whereas Jinnah is considered to be the one who shaped this vision. 

While Iqbal’s “Tarana-e-Milli” is a poem that talks about the notions of Islamic universalism, it has no offensive hints at the Hindu community. Therefore, using this poem to call Iqbal a Muslim bigot seems absolutely absurd.

Read here, The BJP Enforcing Patriotism By Instilling Fear- “Har Ghar Tiranga” Campaign in Kashmir and Other Schemes

Hindu Right Wing Group’s blind hatred for Muhammad Iqbal

Soon after his death, Iqbal (1877–1938) was denounced as the creator of the “two-nation theory,”, a follower of pan-Islamism, and a fervent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. After being hailed as Pakistan’s “national poet,” this criticism gained momentum in the years following the 1947 partition. However, people of India should pause and think about BJP’s hatred for the same poet who gave India “Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan hamara,” a song that, incidentally, is used as the marching theme by not just one but multiple military bands of different regiments of the Indian armed forces.

BJP’s and other Hindu right-wing groups’ tendencies to perceive India through a starkly black or white lens, has led the Indian people towards majoritarianism and vilifying any belief system that differs from their own. The mindless loathing for Iqbal and everything he stands for seems unsurprising and even inevitable given the intensely volatile and polarizing times we live in. 

Also, read Shraddha Murder Case Revealing Indian Media’s Rooted Islamophobia

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Islamophobia in France: The Worst Country to be a Muslim?

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Islamophobia in France

Islamophobia in France: Islamism has always been a source of contention for the French elite. With a 5.3 million Muslim population, France is home to most Muslim people in Europe, yet the country stays in the news for its islamophobic laws & hatred against Muslims

Islamophobia in France on the Rise

Prejudice against Muslims in France has increased explicitly since the country held presidential and legislative elections. Muslim populous are banned from wearing burqas and headscarves in public places, stating it violates the secular republic’s principles.

The contention of Islam and the French government holds conservative views on religion and diversity in the past. The ideology of the French government and citizens of France have shown xenophobia and hatred toward Muslims.

The discrimination laws, such as the 2004 law that banned the burka and niqab in all public places, including schools, are fueling Islamist separatism in France. At the same time, the government asserts that this legislation aims to support France’s secular system. 

Consequently, the variance between Islam and France is significant for the world. Why? Because it showcases the problem that arises due to globalization.  

Muslims living in France are immigrants from various Islamic-leaning nations, including Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region. All Muslim countries, regardless of their affiliation, are affected by laws like the one outlawing burqas and the Muslim headscarf.

Along with that, this issue raises an essential question on free speech and blasphemy.

The Root Causes that Escalate Dispute

Freedom of speech and blasphemy in France is legal. Blasphemy translates to making fun of, abusing, or defaming any religion. It also includes abusing the gods of any religion or any other sacred thing related to religion. 

In 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron drafted the law stating Islamist separatism, an ideology that describes Islam as the “Enemy of the Republic.” The largest Muslim population in Europe with 5.3 million members, critics claim that France’s so-called “separatism law” is discriminatory and highlights the rising Islamophobia in France.

However, the law drafted by the president talks about the freedom of speech, blasphemy, and freedom of expression, which was under threat due to terrorism in France.

Since 2015, more than 129 people were killed in France, mostly the attackers recruited by or inspired by ISIS or Al-Qaida. The Charlie Hebdo attack, in which 12 satirical magazine employees were killed. It released a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, whose portrayal is firmly against Islamic law.

The Bataclan attack killed 90 people in the Bataclan theater; a truck driving through crowds; a Christmas market shooting; and everything that happened in 2020. Charlie Hebdo republished the Prophet Muhammad caricature that killed two people outside the magazine’s old building.  

That’s when President Emmanuel Macron announced that he was drafting the “separatism law” bill. In his most high-profile speech on Islam and secularism, he stated that Islam religion is in crisis today, not only in France but worldwide

In October 2021, a French teacher exhibited the Prophet Muhammad caricature to his class as part of a lesson on free expression. He was the target of a social media campaign, found, and beheaded. And then, a week ahead later, several people were killed inside a church. 

So President Macron went ahead and proposed his bill. He gave the problem a name — Islamist Separatism

What was in Macron’s proposed law? 

The law explains stricter penalties for people who threaten or attack public workers in the name of religion. More power to go after hate speech online, freedom of speech, blasphemy, and limits on significant foreign donations to religious institutions. 

Additionally, the will includes more power to stop forced marriages, polygamy, and anyone issuing “virginity certificates” for women about marriage. There are even restrictions on religious private schools like Madressa and homeschooling. 

Read More: Is This the Ultimate Solution to Rising Islamophobia in India?

Muslim Hatred in France  

Three people were killed, and three others were hurt when a 69-year-old shooter opened fire. The assassination was at a Kurdish cultural center and hair salon in the heart of Paris on Friday, December 23, 2022.

Three Kurdish community members were shot and killed in Paris, which brought back memories of a previous tragedy. It happened over ten years ago. On January 9, 2013, three members of the Kurdish PKK movement—Sabine Cansiz, 54, co-founder of the organization; Fidan Dogan, 30, and Leyla Saylemez, 25, who oversaw the group’s youth program—were fatally shot inside an apartment in Paris’ 10th arrondissement.

Police reports described the shooter who killed three people in a Kurdish cultural center as “Caucasian,” of French nationality, and known for two prior attempted killings in 2016 and 2021.

His motivations are still unknown, but given who he was and who he was shooting at, there was an instant concern that the shooting might have been racially motivated.

The hard-left France Unbowed political party’s parliamentary leader, Mathilde Pinot, instantly blamed the extreme right and referred to it as a “racist attack.”

The members of the Kurdish center are scared; they feel unprotected and unsafe – Crying to nearby police, they stated it started again, and we are being killed.  REcently the Kurdish protestors stormed French street protesting in the memories of the murdered community members.

Kurd protest in france: CNN

Islamophobia in France: How do Muslims in France feel about all this? 

Well, religious leaders are split. One Muslim association said, “separatism is a reality that must be faced.” At the same time, many people feel this bill reinforces a feeling that French Muslims are never French enough

“Separatism is a reality that must be faced.”

Many French Muslims believe Macron’s separatism bill is more likely to adopt Islam in a French way, which is impossible for any Muslim community. 

It is difficult enough for Muslims to escape France’s constitution, which includes blasphemy law and practice. In contrast, the prohibition on burqas and headscarves appears to be a tyranny.

In this situation, the government and French Muslim leaders must sit together and have open discussions to protect French nationals and maintain national harmony. 

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