Published: 09:00 GMT Standard Time - Friday 11 March 2011
Sarkozy: France’s Christian heritage is a “privilege”
Country/Region: Europe, France
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out for France’s Christian heritage, claiming it should be passed onto future generations “without doubt or shame”.
|Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France
Image by א (Aleph),CC BY-SA 2.5
Speaking in Puy-en-Velay last week, the President of France – an officially secular country – said:
Christianity left us a magnificent heritage of civilisation. As a secular president, I can say that.
This heritage comes with obligations, this heritage is a privilege, but it presents us above all with a duty: It obliges us to pass it on to future generations, and we should embrace it without doubt or shame.
The speech comes one month before France introduces a ban on the wearing of full-face Muslim veils in public places and amid controversy over religious identity. The law comes into effect on 11 April; any woman who breaks it will face arrest or a fine.
The president ordered a nationwide debate on Islam’s place in secular France, telling journalists that he wants no halal food options in school canteens, no outdoor prayers and no minarets. Some politicians are distancing themselves from Mr Sarkozy over this issue, although the full veil ban was passed in the French parliament last year by 335 votes to one.
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Read The Guardian article - Full-face veils outlawed as France spells out controversial niqab ban
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