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France backs tough anti-terrorism bill after wave of attacks

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A french soldier poses as he patrols inside the Montparnasse train station in Paris, France, October 2, 2017.

PARIS - France’s parliament adopted an anti-terrorism bill on Tuesday that will bolster police surveillance powers and make it easier to close mosques suspected of preaching hatred, but rights groups said it would lead to civil freedoms being infringed.

Ahead of the vote, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb described France as being “still in a state of war” as authorities struggle to deal with the threat posed by foreign jihadists and homegrown militants.

More than 240 people have been killed in France in attacks since 2015 by assailants who pledged allegiance to, or were inspired by, Islamic State. In the latest attack on Sunday, a man cried Allahu Akbar -- God is Greatest -- before fatally stabbing two women outside the rail station in Marseille.

Legislators in the lower house adopted the bill by a margin of 415 to 127.

“Lawmakers realize that today’s threat is serious and that we must protect ourselves against terrorists. This must be done in a way that balances security and freedom,” Collomb told reporters after the vote.

“This text will help protect French people.”

Emergency powers in place since November 2015, when Islamist suicide bombers and gunmen carried out attacks in Paris and killed 130 people, have played a significant role in enabling intelligence agencies to disrupt plots, the government says.

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Muslim Global: France backs tough anti-terrorism bill after wave of attacks
France backs tough anti-terrorism bill after wave of attacks
France’s parliament adopted an anti-terrorism bill on Tuesday that will bolster police surveillance powers and make it easier to close mosques suspected of preaching hatred, but rights groups said it would lead to civil freedoms being infringed.
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