The Brookings Doha Center (BDC) hosted a webinar discussion on November 30, 2020 on France’s evolving policy on the public and political manifestations of Islam. The discussion included the role of upcoming elections, the precise definition of secularism, and religious freedoms in France more broadly. The panel consisted of a group of distinguished scholars and experts, including: François Burgat, senior research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research; Jocelyne Cesari, visiting professor of religion, violence, and peacebuilding, at the Harvard Divinity School; and Rim-Sarah Alouane, researcher and Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Law at the University Toulouse-Capitole. Galip Dalay, nonresident fellow at the BDC, moderated the event.

François Burgat began the discussion by focusing on what he called the last layer of drivers intensifying the crisis in France — elections. Burgat highlighted that Emmanuel…

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