Parents who vocally disapprove of showing the cartoons in schools may face charges and deportation if they are foreign.
Tangier – France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said that French law will soon condemn those who speak out against caricatures deemed insulting to Islam. Foreigners who do so will also be subject to deportation, he underlined.
Speaking on the French channel Europe 1, Darmanin said that “if parents go to a teacher to tell him to stop teaching caricatures in the course on free speech, tomorrow it will be a criminal offense.”
He added: “And a judge will be able to say, if you are foreigners and you are condemned to this offense, you will leave the national territory.”
France is embroiled in an ongoing debate over Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that Muslims consider insulting to Islam.
The controversy surrounding the cartoons dates back years but reignited in September after a stabbing attack near the satirical magazine’s former headquarters, where in January 2015, gunmen killed 12 people and injured 11 others.
Macron condemned the September stabbing and stressed that France must put an end to “Islamist separatism.”
A few weeks later, a Chechen student from Russia beheaded a history teacher, Samuel Paty, who displayed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in a class on freedom of speech.
Macron led a televised memorial for Paty on October 21 and defended the right to publish the offensive caricatures. Charlie Hebedo’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad appeared on two governmental buildings in Montpelier and Toulouse during the memorial. Muslim countries sharply denounced the president’s response to the extremist incidents in France, with thousands of people calling for a boycott.
France’s crackdown on extremism
Two days after the heinous murder of Paty, the French interior minister vowed to crack down on individuals and organizations considered “enemies to the republic.”
French media outlets reported on October 18 that Darmanin called for an acceleration of a deportation program, targeting 231 irregular migrants who allegedly hold “extremist beliefs.”
The crackdown on Islamic NGOs began on October 19. The interior minister initially announced that state services will visit 51 associative structures throughout the week and several of them will face formal dissolution.
The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) said France’s campaign against it and other Islamic NGOs and associations such as the Omar Mosque, Learning & Understanding, BarakaCity, and Ummah Charity is a “purely politicized agenda.”
Last week, Darmanin announced his plan to officially dissolve the CCIF. His move was in accordance with President Emmanuel Macron.