Nicolas Sarkozy on Diversity in a Speech before the Diplomatic Corps
January 18, 2008
Let me be clear: I favour the flowering of religions, as I favour the right of each person to have no religion, or to change religions. That is my conception of secularism. And it was in that sense, as Interior Minister for four years, that I authorised the opening of an unprecedented number of mosques in France, for Islam is now our second-largest religion and all who so wish must have the possibility of practising their faith in dignity and tolerance. More than anyone else, I have contributed to the emergence of a French Islam. And it is for that very reason that I can plead with conviction that it must be possible, in Islamic lands, to practise one's religion, whichever one chooses, in dignity and tolerance. How can those who call for the opening of mosques in France refuse the opening of churches wherever that may be justified?