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Nicolas Sarkozy was the 23rd President of the French Republic, serving from May 2007 to May 2012. Before becoming president, he occupied various prominent political posts including Minister of Finance and Minister of the Interior. His conservative policies, including his strong emphasis on law and order, made him a divisive figure in French politics. In particular, his blunt condemnation of criminality among urban youth and his treatment of Roma immigrants resulted in both domestic and international criticism. His stances regarding religion also attracted public attention. Among his proposals, he encouraged the organization of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, which could act as a unified representative of French Muslims. He also favored public subsidies for Muslim schools, similar to those available to other faith communities, as a means of facilitating the assimilation of Muslim immigrants.