France to protect all religions, vows Francois Hollande

Speaking at the Arab World Institute, he said Islam was compatible with democracy and thanked Arabs for their solidarity over terrorism in Paris.


Attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman killed 17 people last week.


Funeral ceremonies for several of the victims are being held.


Among them are two of Charlie Hebdo’s best known cartoonists, Bernard Verlhac – known as Tignous – and Georges Wolinski.


There are also funerals taking place for Charlie Hebdo columnist Elsa Cayat and Franck Brinsolaro, a policeman assigned to guard Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier.


‘Obligation to protect’
Speaking on Thursday morning, Mr Hollande said the French were united in the face of terror.


“French Muslims have the same rights as all other French,” he said. “We have the obligation to protect them.


“Anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic acts have to be condemned and punished.”


Mr Hollande said that radical Islam had fed off contradictions, poverty, inequality and conflict, and that “it is Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance”.


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