French President calls for tougher laws on anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate speech

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

French President Francois Hollande has vowed to introduce tougher penalties for racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic crimes in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Speaking yesterday at an annual dinner hosted by the country’s Jewish community, the President called for “faster, more effective sanctions” against hate speech and added: “I want such speech to come under criminal law rather than press laws.”

President Hollande said anti-semitism should be treated as an aggravating circumstance in the prosecution of all offences.

His proposals come after 17 people were killed during the Charlie Hebdo shootings and an attack on a kosher supermarket last month.

France is still on high alert following the attacks.

Hundreds of Jewish graves were desecrated in eastern France earlier this month.

French Muslim groups have also reported a rise in Islamophobic incidents following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013 by President Hollande was met with a steep rise in homophobic attacks.

France’s hate crime watchdog said in May last year: “There’s no doubt the rise in homophobic acts was linked to the context of the opposition against gay marriage

“Homophobic words and statements became trivialised during this period and helped legitimise insults and homophobic violence.”