France: Parliamentary Report Points to Increase in Anti-religious Acts

Two French parliamentarians have completed a report on the incidence of anti-religious acts in France and propose measures to improve the situation

Newsroom (March 12, 2022, 11:05 AM, Gaudium Press) In December 2021, French Prime Minister Jean Castex commissioned MP Isabelle Florennes and MP Ludovic Mendes to draft a report on religious violence in France.

Increase in hatred and increase in the seriousness of antireligious acts

After four trips around the country and the completion of nearly 30 hearings with various religious leaders, guards, police officers, researchers, and others, the deputies presented the report on March 17th.

The document brings data from the last 10 years and shows not only a remarkable increase in anti-religious acts but also an increase in the severity of these acts.

In a press round earlier this year, the deputies had explained to journalists that the severity of the acts is increasing and that it is worsened by “internet hate.”

Figures presented by the Interior Ministry show that in 2021, 1659 anti-religious acts were recorded: 857 against Christians; 589 against Jews, and 213 against Muslims.

Numbers lower than reality

Although the numbers are large, deputies claim that they are far below reality. Still, since 2015 the acts have varied between 1500 and 2000 per year.

Indeed, it is difficult to separate statistically the degree of seriousness of each act. Furthermore, complaints and accusations are not automatic; often victims get used to them.

They also explain the difficulties of measuring the impact of religious acts in a country that does not have statistical data on religion and ethnicity such as France.

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In order to combat this increase in religious hatred, the deputies have proposed some governmental measures.

Measures to combat acts of hatred against religion

One of such measures is to increase the budget that is destined for the prevention of delinquency and radicalization by 5 years and to increase security in places of worship.

The crackdown on hateful acts on social media is another measure they want. In addition, the report calls for religious education in schools.

“There is a real need for education about religion” as explained Rep. Mendes who went on to say that one cannot “reject the debate on religion under the pretext of school secularism.” (FM)

Compiled by Sarah Gangl

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