EU leaders are planning to tell migrants to learn the language of their home country and integrate their children into their new societies in a drive to stamp out Islamism after recent attacks in France and Austria.
A draft EU statement supported by French president Emmanuel Macron says the recent killings have revealed the ‘extent of the threat we face from Islamist terrorism’, according to the Guardian.
Using the kind of language which has often been condemned as racist when coming from right-wing parties, the text demands the ‘recognition of European values’ and says that ‘refusal to integrate’ should be ‘sanctioned’ more strongly.
It adds that ‘what successful integration means above all is learning the language of one’s new country, earning a living for oneself and for one’s family, and supporting the integration of one’s children’.
Emmanuel Macron, pictured left with his wife Brigitte on Monday, is spearheading an EU drive in which migrants would be told to learn languages and integrate their children
The document says that ‘migrants are expected to make an active effort to become integrated while they are offered help with integration through government integration measures’.
‘Along with recognition of European values, what successful integration means above all is learning the language of one’s new country, earning a living for oneself and for one’s family, and supporting the integration of one’s children,’ it says.
The draft EU declaration, due to be unveiled on Friday, also says that Brussels should fund religious education for Muslims.
European Council president Charles Michel has already spoken publicly about an EU-wide institute to train imams in Europe in order to ‘fight the ideology of hatred’.
The document also calls for public funding to be scrapped for organisations that are ‘hostile to integration’, after France launched a crackdown on suspected Islamist organisations in the wake of school teacher Samuel Paty’s murder last month.
President Macron vowed to stamp out Islamism after Paty was beheaded for showing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his secondary school class.
But France’s rhetoric, including its defence of the right to publish blasphemous cartoons, has made Macron the target of anger across much of the Muslim world.
Two weeks after Paty’s murder, three people were killed in a knife attack in Nice by an Islamist attacker who burst into a church.
In France, 200 investigations were opened in one week alone for supporting terrorism, death threats, insults or hate speech related to Paty’s killing.
Numbers were ‘exploding’, a judicial source said. ‘We have many threats targeting politicians, the president, the prime minister, several ministers, MPs, teachers,’ with many referring to ‘decapitation’.
Macron’s call to challenge ‘Islamist separatism’, and his defence of the right to publish blasphemous Prophet Mohammed cartoons, has made him a target of fury in the Muslim world (pictured here, protesters from India’s Muslim minority burn pictures of Macron in Kolkata)
But Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz noted that the probes target ‘all kinds of people, radicalised people but also people with mental health problems or who send a message without realising how serious it is’.
A number of schoolchildren have been targeted in probes over support for terrorism, some after joking about or sharing pictures of Paty’s death.
Last week, Austria become the victim of terror when an Islamic extremist killed four people in a shooting rampage in Vienna before being shot dead by police.
Austria has acknowledged that ‘intolerable mistakes were made’ in the handling of intelligence on the attacker, a convicted jihadist.
The 20-year-old was convicted and imprisoned last year for trying to go to Syria to join ISIS.
Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz is due to meet Macron in Paris today to discuss the EU-wide response to the attacks.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will also join a meeting by video link, Macron’s office says.
‘Some Europeans still think that this topic concerns just a few countries, mostly France,’ France’s European affairs minister Clement Beaune said.
‘It was a great shock to all of us when we realised that the European model is being targeted,’ he said.