As Ramadan begins this week, many Muslims in France are bracing themselves for the passage of a controversial new law.
Recently approved by the Senate, the ”anti-separatism” bill aims to stop radicalisation. It doesn’t name any specific religion, but includes provisions that critics say single out France’s six million Muslims.
One proposal involves banning minors from wearing “conspicuous” religious clothing in public – which would prevent Muslim women under the age of 18 years old from wearing hijab. The move has prompted a furious global online response and the revival of hashtag campaigns including #BoycottFrance and #HandsOffMyHijab.
The new law comes on the heels of last year’s beheading of a history teacher who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his class. President Emmanuel Macron is also up for re-election next year, and his opponents have vowed to keep Islam and immigration at the top of the agenda.
In this episode of The Stream we ask, is France legalising Islamophobia?