02:35 GMT30 November 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron's initiatives to reform Islamic institutions in the country are nothing but an attempt to attack Muslims, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday in his speech recorded for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit.

    Following the killing of a French teacher by a Chechen teenager last week, a draft law that seeks to prohibit justification of crime with ethnic or religious motives on constitutional grounds was submitted to the French Senate. According to Macron, who has coined the term "Islamic separatism" and criticized manifestations of extremism on religious grounds, ideology should not claim that its own laws should be superior to those of the republic.

    "The main goal of such initiatives led by Macron is to settle old scores with Islam and Muslims," Erdogan said, as quoted by the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper.

    According to the Turkish leader, those who are concerned with the rise of Islam create crises that they use as an excuse to attack Islam and cover up their own failures.

    The bill was unveiled back on 2 October, weeks before the tragedy in one of Paris suburbs took place and sparked a new wave of anti-Islamist sentiments across France. Macron said the bill would imply the mandatory rule of neutrality for employees of public service companies that they must follow while performing their work to avoid manifestations of separatism.

    French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a press conference at the end of the first day of the EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 2, 2020.
    © REUTERS / POOL
    French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a press conference at the end of the first day of the EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, October 2, 2020.

    In addition, it provides the state with the power to step in if local authorities make unacceptable concessions to Muslims and restricts homeschooling to avoid having children "indoctrinated." The bill also tightens control over foreign influence on Islam and funding for mosques, and promotes the domestic training of imams.

    The bill triggered a strong backlash from the Muslim community in France — the largest in Europe — which decried the bill as Islamophobic and discriminatory.

    France's policy toward Muslims is not the only stumbling block in relations between Macron and Erdogan. The leaders have been criticizing each other over the last several months, as the countries' interests collided in the Eastern Mediterranean. Tensions have been high in the region in connection with Ankara's drilling activities in Greece-claimed waters.

    Tags:
    Muslim, Islam, Emmanuel Macron, Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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