Source: Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — France’s interior minister said Monday that the country is at war with an enemy trying to pit Muslims against non-Muslims, making it urgent to create a strong bond between the nation and citizens of the Islamic faith.
Bernard Cazeneuve also said it was crucial to tailor the religion to the values of secular France, “a pillar of the republic.”
He spoke after a day-long conference with Muslim leaders, professionals and some lawmakers to try to mount a project meant to bind Muslims to the nation, a task given new urgency after deep divisions surfaced over burkini bans in 30 French beach towns and after extremist attacks that also stigmatized Muslims.
A high court struck down the burkini bans Friday, but the high-pitched debate that quickly seeped into France’s political sphere revealed raw tensions between the secular establishment and sectors of France’s estimated 5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.