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Senate Report Prevents Brotherhood Supporters from Entering France

Senate Report Prevents Brotherhood Supporters from Entering France

Friday, 10 July, 2020 - 09:45
FILE PHOTO: Minister Gerald Darmanin attends a news conference in Paris, France, February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Paris - Michel Abu Najm

Few know that Gerald Darmanin, France’s new interior minister, has Arab origins. His full name is Gerald Moussa Darmanin. His maternal grandfather, Moussa, was a sergeant in the 13th Algerian snipers’ squad that helped liberate France from German occupation.

His father, Gerard, hails from a Jewish family from Malta and his grandfather immigrated to France and settled in Valenciennes, where the minister was born in 1982.

Given his background, it is evident that Darmanin would be concerned with immigration and religion. As a Minister of Interior, he is also responsible for matters of worship. He touched on the topic of Islam, specifically political Islam and the concept of “separatism” in his first official statement after his appointment to his post.

Darmanin previously declared that the state should make no compromise over separatism and “fight with all its forces political Islam targeting the republic,” including its values and laws.

French President Emmanuel Macron was the first to talk about separatism and the state’s duty to combat it.

The Interior Minister again took up the issue when answering the questions of Senate members on Wednesday, saying that political Islam was “the deadly enemy of the republic and therefore all forms of sectarian introversion must be fought.”

What he meant was the Muslim Brotherhood. Darmanin did not hesitate to recall his “family legacy” to glorify what he calls “integration” in French society, which is the fundamental opposite of “sectarian and social introversion” concept and what the authorities consider the separatist project of political Islam.

A report issued on Thursday by a special Senate committee put the issue of political Islam at the forefront of concerns.

The report was prepared by a commission of inquiry established in November 2019 and was based on seventy interviews with officials, politicians, intellectuals, academics, and members of active civil society associations.

It considered Islamic extremism as a “tangible reality” in many neighborhoods, “seeking today to lay hands on Islam in France.”

According to the authors of the report, “all French territories are concerned with this phenomenon except for the west of the country”. “It is necessary to act today before it’s too late,” they warned.

The report stresses that extremists seek to achieve “separatism in a number of cities”, which means in practice, “denying the values of the republic, such as freedom of religion and belief, equality between men and women, and mixing of the genders.”

For years, right parties have been accusing the Ministry of the Interior and security services of avoiding entering suburban neighborhoods in major cities to avoid confrontations with youth groups who consider themselves “marginalized”.

Despite the different plans launched with successive governments, the dilemma has not been solved, but has become more explosive, increasing the dissociation with these neighborhoods.

The report puts forward 44 measures that target the economic, educational, social and cultural fields.

It also calls for preventing the Muslim Brotherhood advocates from entering France and fighting the extremist presence within the framework of state institutions, public and private schools, as well as cultural and sports clubs.

The report urges the government to strengthen the monitoring through its security services and to educate and qualify local employees as well as members of local councils such as municipalities and others.

This report is not the first of its kind and will not be the last. In a speech in February, Macron stated that France would gradually “abandon” the practice of inviting imams from abroad, but would strengthen instead the training of imams locally.

However, at the same time, he warned against confusing the Islamic religion with extremism, stressing that the measures should not be directed against Muslims but rather against extremist Islamists, adding that Islam has its place in the country alongside other religions.

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