French President Francois Hollande said Thursday that the Muslims of the world are the "primary victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance, adding that any anti-Muslim or anti-Semitic acts must be "severely punished."
Speaking nearly a week after the three days of violence that racked Paris and left 17 dead, Hollande told a forum hosted by the Arab World Institute that radical Islam, "has fed all the contradictions, all the misery and all the inequalities of all unresolved conflicts for too long."
Muslims in France deserve the same rights as all other citizens, Hollande said, warning that respect for all religions is paramount.
"French Muslims have the same right, the same duties as all citizens. They must be protected. Secularism helps because it respects all the religions," Hollande said.
An hour after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices last week, in which 10 journalists and two policemen were killed, Hollande warned his countrymen to avoid making the dangerous association between the Al-Qaida-linked terrorists and the Muslim community at large.
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