French anti-religious extremism bill would ban ‘virginity certificates,’ limit home schooling
French President Emmanuel Macron planned to present an anti-religious extremism bill on Wednesday that would ban “virginity certificates” for Muslim women and restrict home-schooling in the nation.
The administration is unveiling the bill with the goal of protecting “republican principles” and curbing Islamist extremism within France after extremists carried out two fatal terror attacks in October, the Financial Times reported. The French president intended to present the bill at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Macron’s bill would extend France’s traditional secular neutrality in government services to private-sector companies if they are contacted by the government.
The French president has received backlash for the bill and has been condemned for alleged Islamophobia by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Macron has dismissed these concerns, saying the proposal is designed to target Islamist extremists in particular, not all Muslims.
“We are not targeting Muslims,” one of Macron’s advisers said, according to the Financial Times. “We are targeting movements that in the name of religion have a discourse against the republic.”
The bill would prohibit virginity certificates, which are a doctor’s confirmation that a person’s hymen is intact that some require before marriage. The World Health Organization has confirmed virginity certificates are unscientific, according to Al Jazeera.
The drafted bill will also further regulate hate speech on social media and the internet, making it illegal for people to identify and intend to hurt public servants like teachers.
This provision will come after French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in October for showing his class satirical Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
French officials said the restrictions on home-schooling will come as some French children are being sent to unregistered Koranic classes, according to the Financial Times.
Although some French people dispute the home-schooling limits and the criminalization of parents who request doctors of certain genders in state hospitals, the majority of the French population is supportive of Macron’s actions against Islamic extremism.