France has a problem with Islam: Francois Hollande
Late on Wednesday, Hollande invited two of France?s highest ranking judges to see him to patch up relations after the book also quoted him disparaging judges Photograph: (Getty)
French President Francois Hollande told the authors of a recently published book that "France has a problem with Islam", comments that can divide his party before next year’s presidential election.
Hollande spoke to the two authors of "A President Shouldn’t Say That...." in December 2015, only a month after Jihadist gunmen and bombers attacked Paris, killing 130.
The book published on Wednesday, is written by journalists, Gerard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, who met with Hollande 61 times, Reuters reported.
"It’s true that there’s a problem with Islam. No one doubts it," Hollande is quoted as saying, Reuters reported.
"It’s not that Islam poses a problem in the sense that it is a dangerous religion, but in as far as it wants to affirm itself as a religion of the Republic." he added.
Similar statements have been made by conservative politicians in the past.
Since the late 1980s, successive Paris governments have failed in nurturing a liberal "Islam of France" to help integrate the faith into secular society.
In August, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the state must re-invent its relationship with the "Islam of France".
On Hollande’s comments, government spokesman Stephan Le Foll told Reuters: "There’s a problem with Islam today because Islam is politicised by some. There is a problem and at the same time we need to be able to overcome this problem."
According to Reuters, opposition politicians said on Wednesday that Hollande should spend less time talking to journalists and more time governing.
Late on Wednesday, Hollande also invited two of France’s highest ranking judges to patch up relations after the book quoted him belittling judges, according to a tweet on the top appeals court’s Twitter account.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)