France is fighting back against religious extremism with a new law. The government's draft legislation Thursday will curb extremist ideologies considered to be the "enemy of the republic."
The law doesn't mention "Islamic" or "Islamist." Muslim countries have criticized the government for proposing the legislation. The U.S. described it as being "heavy handed."
U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom Sam Brownback said he was concerned by recent events in France. However, the law may be too "heavy handed" which might make things worse, Brownback said.
Practices considered to be "extremist" will be barred. These include online and offline hate speech, issuing of "virginity certificates" by doctors for religious marriages, forced home schooling and the forming of community associations that are against the "values of the republic."
France President Emmanuel Macron has resolved to address radical Islamism - which has resulted in attacks that have left more than 260 people dead since 2015. Macron said he was committed to defeating "Islamist separatism" and that France would prevail.
Attacks on French soil have escalated and included the beheading of a teacher who had shown a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said the law isn't against religion or Islam, in particular. He said it was a "law of freedom" and a "law of protection" against "religious fundamentalism." Earlier Castex said radical Islamism had become the "enemy of the republic."
Critics said it would likely increase a sense of alienation for some residents - particularly Muslims who represent about 8% of the population.
The law will be presented to the National Assembly in January. The draft was approved by the cabinet Wednesday.