France will deport foreign-born imams and disband radical faith-based groups, including hardline traditionalist Catholics, if a new surveillance policy signals they suffer a “religious pathology” and could become violent.
Two days ago, President François Hollande announced the creation of l’Observatoire national de la laïcité (roughly, “National Observatory of Secularism”) in 2013. The official statement specifically mentions only the development of propositions for a “public morality” to be taught in schools (no doubt to the satisfaction of Education Minister Vincent Peillon), but Interior Minister Manuel Valls’s comments today expand on its role:
The aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess. . . . The objective is to identify when it’s suitable to intervene to treat what has become a religious pathology.
Valls stressed that the agency will focus on extremists of all faiths, citing protests by the Catholic group Civitas as an example of Christian behavior that skirts “the limits of legality” (not to be confused with the E.U. sustainable transport initiative bearing the same name). According to Reuters, he also finds “creationists in the United States and the Muslim world, radical Islamists, ultra-traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews who want to live separately from the modern world” dangerous examples of religious extremism.