Paris, Feb 24: French President Francois Hollande has vowed to introduce tougher penalties for "racist, anti-semitic or homophobic" remarks in the wake of last month's terrorist attacks in Paris.
Speaking at an annual dinner hosted by the country's Jewish community, Hollande called for "faster, more effective sanctions" against hate speech and added: "I want such speech to come under criminal law rather than press laws."
Hollande said anti-semitism should be treated as an aggravating circumstance in the prosecution of all offences. Would-be jihadists would also face stiffer punishment under a draft intelligence bill to be unveiled next month, he said. Earlier yesterday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that the authorities had confiscated the passports of six people suspected of planning to travel to the Middle East to wage jihad.
France is still on high alert following January's shooting rampage by three jihadists who attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, a Jewish supermarket and police officers in a three-day campaign of terror that left 17 dead, including four Jews. The attacks were the worst in France in decades.