French President Emmanuel Macron has asked the country’s Muslim leaders to accept a charter of “republican values” which states that Islam is not a political movement and prohibits “foreign interference” in Muslim groups.
On Wednesday, the French president met eight leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) and asked them to accept the charter within 15 days, following which the latter agreed to form a national council of Imams – which can issue and withdraw official accreditation to Imams, local media reported.
“Two principles will be inscribed in black and white [in the charter]: the rejection of political Islam and any foreign interference,” reported Le Parisien newspaper.
Last month, 47-year-old French teacher Samuel Paty was killed by Abdoulakh A, 18, after Paty showed his students the controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad which were published in the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Since then, Mr Macron has spoken out forcefully against radical Islam and defended French secularism, saying that he will uphold the right to publishing caricatures no matter how offensive they are deemed.
The comments have been followed by a number of suspected Islamist attacks, as well as a backlash from many Muslim-majority nations. French goods have been boycotted in parts of the Arab world, and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked whether Mr Macron needed to have his mental health checked.
But the French president has not backed down, instead drafting several measures to address what he called “Islamist separatism”, including a bill that aims at preventing radicalisation. The bill, which came out on Wednesday, aims to put restrictions on home-schooling and gives children an identification number to ensure attendance in school.
Any parent found violating the law could face six months in jail and heavy fines. It is expected to be discussed by the French cabinet on 9 December.
France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the country “must save” their “children from the clutches of the Islamists”, reported the Le Figaro newspaper.
Los Angeles city issues remain-at-home order to all residents
The mayor of the city of Los Angeles announced an emergency order late on Wednesday directing all residents within the city to remain in their homes effective immediately.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, temporarily withdrew the earlier “safer-at-home” order, and issued the new order “necessary for the protection of life and property” in the city.
Former French president, Valery Giscard d’Estaing dies at the age of 94
Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a former president of France and key architect of European integration in the early 1970s, has died aged 94.
He had recently been hospitalised in Tours in central France.
Mr Giscard d’Estaing died at his family home nearby after suffering from complications linked to coronavirus, a foundation he had set up and chaired said.
The former French president, who was in office between 1974 to 1981, had been admitted to hospital in September with respiratory complications, and was hospitalised again in mid-November.
His death was announced by his office and the French presidency on Wednesday evening.
He was known for steering a modernisation of French society during his presidency, including allowing divorce by mutual consent and legalising abortion.
As president, Mr Giscard d’Estaing also helped forge a single Europe with Helmut Schmidt, who was both a close friend of his and the German chancellor.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, paid tribute to the “committed European” following the news of his death.
Born in 1926, he served in the Free French army that helped liberate France during the Second World War, and was named as finance minister aged 36 by Charles de Gaulle.
GOP objects to Biden nominees, a sign of what’s to come
President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks are quickly running into the political reality of a narrowly controlled Senate that will leave the new Democratic administration dependent on rival Republicans to get anything done.
Under leader Mitch McConnell, the Republican senators will hold great sway in confirming Biden’s nominees regardless of which party holds the majority after runoff elections in January. Biden will have little room to maneuver and few votes to spare.
As Biden rolled out his economic team Tuesday — after introducing his national security team last week — he asked the Senate to give his nominees prompt review, saying they “deserve and expect nothing less.”
But that seems unlikely. Republicans are swiftly signaling that they’re eager to set the terms of debate and exact a price for their votes. Biden’s choice for budget chief, Neera Tanden, was instantly rejected as “radioactive.” His secretary of state nominee, Antony Blinken, quickly ran into resistance from GOP senators blasting his record amid their own potential 2024 White House campaigns.
Even as most Republican senators still refuse to publicly acknowledge President Donald Trump’s defeat, they are launching new battles for the Biden era. The GOP is suspended between an outgoing president it needs to keep close — Trump can still make or break careers with a single tweet — and the new one they are unsure how to approach. Almost one month since the Nov. 3 election, McConnell and Biden have not yet spoken.
“The disagreement, disorientation and confusion among Republicans will make them inclined to unite in opposition,” said Ramesh Ponnuru, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, during a Tuesday briefing.
“They don’t necessarily know what they’re for, but they can all agree they don’t like Neera Tanden.”
A new president often runs into trouble with at least a few Cabinet or administrative nominees, individuals who rub the Senate the wrong way and fail to win enough votes for confirmation or are forced to withdraw after grueling public hearings.
Trump’s nominees faced enormous resistance from Senate Democrats, who used their minority-party status to slow-walk confirmation for even lower-level positions. It’s been an escalation of the Senate’s procedural battles for at least a decade.
But the battles ahead are particularly sharp as Biden tries to stand up an administration during the COVID-19 crisis and economic freefall, rebuilding a government after Trump chased away many career professionals and appointed often-untested newcomers.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer praised the expertise Biden’s choices will bring to government. He scoffed at Republicans for complaining about Tanden’s penchant for sharp tweets after four years of Trump’s endless Twitter barbs that GOP senators often tried to ignore.
“After what all we went through over the past four years, I would expect that almost all of President-elect Biden’s nominees would be widely acceptable,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.
Instead, he warned, the “switch is starting to flip” into Republican opposition.
To be sure, some key Biden choices will have an easier path to confirmation. Janet Yellen, who would become the nation’s first female treasury secretary, drew few public complaints from Republicans. Many had voted to confirm her in 2014 as Federal Reserve chair.
Democrats have their own battles ahead. Biden faces the daunting task of keeping the party’s centrist and progressive factions from splintering as he tries to put his team in place.
Republicans now hold a 50-48 advantage in the Senate, but if Democrats win both Georgia seats in the Jan. 5 runoff elections, they would wrest control, since the vice president, which will be Kamala Harris, becomes a tie-breaker.
The nomination fights will serve as an early indicator of the approach Republicans take toward Biden as they find their political footing in a post-Trump environment.
Trump continues to wield great influence over the party as he is being eased out, and senators, in particular, need to keep him close for the Georgia runoff elections.
The president is planning to visit Georgia on Saturday, where two GOP senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, failed to clear the 50% threshold to win reelection in November. Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff and Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock in a state that flipped to support Biden.
McConnell has said almost nothing about Biden’s nominees or next year’s agenda as he continues to give Trump the time and space to challenge election results in court cases that have delivered few victories.
Instead, he’s letting other Senate Republicans, particularly those seen as having White House ambitions, make names for themselves. GOP Sens. Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley, among others, have all hurled pointed complaints about Biden’s picks.
Despite Trump’s defeat, Republicans in Congress may have little incentive to work with Biden. They performed better than Trump, retaining many House and Senate seats they were expected to lose. One lesson Republicans learned from the November election may be to keep doing what they’ve been doing.
McConnell gave a nod toward what’s ahead after GOP senators met Tuesday by conference call, forced to abandon their traditional sit-down lunches as the COVID-19 crisis surges and threatens to further disrupt the Capitol.
McConnell talked about finishing the remaining few weeks of “this government” and “the new administration” to come.
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