Statement to the press issued by President Hollande following the meeting with the representatives of France’s Jewish community (October 7, 2012)
This morning, I received the representatives of France’s Jewish community. I expressed – and this goes beyond the representatives themselves and this meeting – the government’s total commitment to fighting against all terrorist threats.
I would also like to commend the work of the police services which made it possible to destroy and neutralize an Islamist cell regarding which there is every indication that it had already conducted an attack and that it could also do so in the next few weeks.
I also reaffirmed that an anti-terrorism bill had been discussed at the Council of Ministers’ meeting on Wednesday and that it would be submitted to Parliament as swiftly as possible. The bill will make it possible to further strengthen the instruments that allow us to combat this scourge more effectively.
I then reaffirmed the government’s tough stand with respect to fighting against racism and anti-Semitism. Nothing should be tolerated, nothing should get by. Any act, any comment will be rigorously pursued by the law.
There will be greater monitoring and protection of places of worship since the principle of laïcité [secularism] in our country is a fundamental principle whereby the State protects all faiths, because it’s a matter of freedom of conscience.
The minister of the interior will, over the next few days, the next few hours, strengthen the protection of the places of worship so that they do not suffer any attacks, as was the case once again yesterday evening.
The third principle that I reaffirmed is that we reject any conflation. French Muslims should not suffer as a result of radical Islamism. They are also victims of it, and I will not allow men and women in our Republic to be stigmatized by statements that may be inappropriate because they have religious beliefs.
Lastly, if we want to be vigilant, if we want to effectively combat all unacceptable practices, those that start with criminal acts, drug trafficking and end up leading to a terrorist act, we have to unite around the values, the principles of dignity, equality and respect for women. We must be able to be proud of what we are, whatever our background, whatever our beliefs.
Through the French Republic’s discipline, and the hard work needed to combat all these problems, the poverty, and the exclusion, we will be able to bring the French people together around a project that transcends us: to ensure that France is able to maintain its position in the world and is able to be proud - as we are - of our values.
These reminders won’t get in the way of the daily fight against terrorism, against insecurity and crime. But it’s clear that our country needs unity and not division.
My mission is to be firm and to be capable of promoting the values of the Republic.