Cazeneuve delivers a speech during a news conference following a meeting with representatives of the Islamic community.
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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". 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.The daylong conference is the latest step in creating an "Islam of France" that respects French secular values.Authorities plan to create a Foundation of Islam of France and an association working with it to train imams in the history of the nation and its secular values – and better track foreign influence on French Muslims, and ultimately try to keep it at bay.
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