French MP to propose law stating France is a 'secular republic with a Judaeo-Christian tradition'
A French MP said during an interview on Sunday that he wanted to propose a new bill starting that secularism is a fundamental value of France with a "Judaeo-Christian tradition".
Guillaume Peltier, also vice-president of the right-wing party The Republicans - founded by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2015 - was the guest of the weekly political radio show "Political Questions" on France Inter and Le Monde on Sunday.
"In the name of clarity, for the whole of the French people and the political class, I will propose at the reopening of the National Assembly a bill saying the following: France is a secular Republic of Judaeo-Christian tradition," he said.
When reminded by anchor Ali Baddou that secularism is written in the first article of the French Constitution and therefore above all laws, Peltier replied that he would like it "to become the fourth republican motto's value: liberty, equality, fraternity, secularism, to give it considerable strength above all laws."
He added that secularism is a value that allows freedom of worship but also to change one's religion or have none at all.
Secularism is in France expressed under the term "laïcité", which means that religious involvement shouldn’t prevail in governmental and public affairs. It is based on a law from 1905 separating the State from the Church.
Tensions have risen about what it means, especially when it comes to the practice and perception of Islam in France.
Last September, Macron said that French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo had "the right to blaspheme" when it comes to republishing the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed before the trial of the attack which had targeted their staff.
In October, teacher Samuel Pety was beheaded after showing some of those caricatures in class during a lesson on freedom of speech.
The government then decided to work on an anti-extremism bill, expanding the ability of the state to close places of worship and religious schools as well as to ban extremist preachers, which was adopted on 16 February.
Around the world, members of Muslim communities had gathered to protest against France's perceived dislike of Islam, and Turkish President Erdogan even called on to boycott French goods.
Peltier also talked about the cultural origins of France, saying.
"But I also add that in the name of secularism, to deny 2,000 years of Judaeo-Christian history which is the basis of our social organisation, our civil calendar, our religious celebrations, the names of our villages, well all that is a mistake," he said.
The term "Judaeo-Christian" is often used by European far-right and populist-right groups to imply that Islam is incompatible with European values, according to political analysts.
During the interview, Peltier directly targeted radical Islam.
"The great challenge that awaits us, the third world war which is ahead of us, is between the Islamists who want to undermine the foundations of our civilizations, and those who are attached to the ideal of freedom," he said.
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