The Minister Delegate for Citizenship, Marlène Schiappa launches this Tuesday morning, with great pomp, the "States General of secularism", "the most beautiful principle of the French Republic", according to her.
Choice of place, quality of speakers and themes… Everything must be impeccable, and for good reason: barely announced, these States General are already widely perceived as a media stunt.
"We do not have a debate after a law", denounced Monday on France Info the MEP EELV Yannick Jadot, in reference to the bill "separatism", wanted as a marker of the quinquennium Macron, adopted in first reading last week by the Senate.
"Marlène Schiappa launches the States General of secularism after her government has made it a tool for stigmatizing Muslims" with this law, considers for her part the Senator (EELV) Esther Benbassa.
Macron: "Secularism is not a tool in the fight against religions"
"It's always the time to talk about secularism, opposed to them this Tuesday morning Marlène Schiappa, guest of BFMTV-RMC.
For her, these States General must "allow exchanges" with high-level intellectuals.
And the minister criticized “what the Greens are not doing on secularism” […], notably evoking the controversy surrounding the funding of the Strasbourg mosque.
"The extreme left is complacent with radical Islamism", she slices.
"An object of permanent media agitation"
The CFDT asks for its part to "stop making secularism an object of permanent media agitation".
Laurent Berger's union, invited by the minister, told him that "this kind of initiative was poorly chosen while the law" against separatism "is still in the pipes (and poses many problems)".
PRESS RELEASE ||
While it is healthy to debate #secularism, as it is currently being conducted, this debate is more and more dangerous: this way of calling on people to “choose their side” and to blame the expression of the slightest nuance, is the antithesis of democratic debate.
- CFDT (@CFDT) April 12, 2021
"We are preparing the ground to replace the Observatory of secularism, which was doing an excellent job [...] by a new body in the pay of the government", for his part judged Aurélien Taché.
The ex-LREM deputy presents these States General as "a grotesque communication operation".
The president of the Licra favorable
Asked by AFP, the president of the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra), Mario Stasi, who will participate, has placed himself on the ground of appeasement. "If the debate moves from this spillway of hatred, of invective that are the social networks, towards an in-depth work putting side by side different approaches to secularism" and allowing "to come out with concrete proposals in respect of the law 1905, if that's the Estates General, I only see advantages, ”he said.
Until the summer will be held "round tables and working groups on freedom of expression, research, youth, civic integration," said Marlène Schiappa in Le Journal du dimanche.
“White cards” will also be entrusted to associations, such as the Licra.
A “major consultation” will also be launched “with 50,000 young people, accessible at laïcité.make.org.
“It's a subject of passion.
The idea is to say: let's talk about it together and listen to each other, ”defends the minister.
Secularism as a "remedy"?
The sensitive issue of French-style secularism regularly opposes two camps.
The supporters of respect for religious freedom as long as it does not disturb public order, on the one hand;
the proponents of a further limitation of religious freedom, in particular the wearing of religious symbols such as the veil, on the other hand.
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A majority of high school students in favor of religious symbols at school
Among the latter, competition is fierce between ministers assaulting proposals, such as Gérald Darmanin at the Interior, for whom secularism must be the "remedy" to cure a country "sick" of Islamist separatism.
But also the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, who told Le Monde that he wanted to launch a
on secularism in view of the presidential election of 2022.
Meanwhile, Marlène Schiappa makes proposals to replace the Observatory of Secularism.
This body chaired for eight years by the former socialist minister Jean-Louis Bianco, is accused by certain politicians or members of the Republican Spring of having been too lax against Islamism.
Matignon must announce in the coming weeks the new device which will succeed the Observatory.