French lawmakers approved on Tuesday a bill that would strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs in a bid to to safeguard France from radical Islamists and protect French values, AP reported.
The bill, passed with a vote of 347 to151, is the first critical hurdle for the legislation, which French President Emmanuel Macron has long called for, it said.
Titled “Supporting respect for the principles of the Republic,” the bill covers most aspects of French life and has come under fire by some Muslims, lawmakers, citing the state’s intrusion on essential freedoms andsingling out Islam, the second most followed religion in the country.
Turkish influence is becoming more and more important, said French news site RTL citing several researchers who observed a rise in activism within Turkish networks over the past ten years.
Experts cite two pro-Turkish institutions: The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, also called Ditib, an offshoot of the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs, which reports directly to Ankara. And the Milli Gorus, an organization close to the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2017, the leader of Ditib, Ahmet Ogras, became the first Turkish president of the The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM).
According to several experts, through these influences Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to maintain a link with his diaspora which votes mainly in his favor, RTL said.
Tensions rose between France and Turkey last year over a string of issues, including what Erdoğan defined as French Islamophobia. The Turkish president called on the Muslim world to boycott all French products.