French President Hollande takes page from Trump in new book, calls Islam a 'problem'
French President Francois Hollande is literally taking a page out of Donald Trump's book.
Hollande reportedly said France has problems with Islam in a newly published book, A President Should Not Say That: Secrets of Five Years in Office, written by journalists from the French daily newspaper Le Monde.
"It's true there is a problem with Islam and nobody doubts that," Hollande is quoted saying, according to the Guardian. "There's a problem with Islam because Islam demands places [of worship], recognition."
Hollande added by saying Islam isn't inherently dangerous, but it exerts itself as a religion of the French Republic.
"It's not that Islam is a problem because it's a religion that is in itself dangerous, but because it wants to assert itself as a religion on the Republic," Hollande said.
Hollande's claims about Islam are similar to the sentiments displayed by the 2016 GOP presidential nominee.
On March 10, Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper he believed "Islam hates us," claiming the religion has a "tremendous" amount of hatred for the United States.
Both Hollande and Trump fail to separate religion and its adherents from radical extremists who pervert the faith of 1.6 billion people around the world. They also perpetuate a toxic "us verses them" narrative that continue to alienate the Muslim community as hate crimes tripled in France and soar in the United States.
Hollande also told the authors of the book that another "problem" is Muslims don't condemn terrorism or acts of radicalism — a claim often made by the Trump campaign.
"What might also be a problem is if Muslims don't criticize acts of radicalization," Hollande said, devoid of any factual evidence, "... if imams behave in an anti-Republican way."
Muslims around the world, including French Muslims, have repeatedly condemned terrorism attacks done in the name of their faith.
On July 26, the French Council of the Muslim Faith, a nationwide elected body to serve as a liaison between the French Muslim community and the French government, denounced the killing of an 86-year-old Catholic priest in Normandy, France.
In November 2015, French Muslims and Muslims around the world criticized and condemned the Paris attacks. While mourning, French Muslims, imams and religious scholars also denounced the Bastille Day attacks in Nice, France.
Hollande also claimed there were "too many" immigrants entering France.
"We teach them to speak French and then another group arrives and we have to start all over again," Hollande was quoted as saying. "It never stops. So, at some point it has to stop."
Pundits have linked France's poor government social policies to the lack of assimilation and integration among migrants. For example, many of France's Muslims and migrants live in slums and ghetto-ized neighborhoods with poor infrastructure and inadequate schools. Taking these situations into account, coupled with institutional racism, French Muslims face an extraordinarily high unemployment rate, which provides them with little to no chance of both economic and social progress.
Despite also only making up less than 10% of France's population, French Muslims face an extraordinarily incarceration rate: 60% to 70% of all prisoners in France are Muslim.
In addition, France continues to alienate French Muslims by enforcing laws that ban headscarves in schools and burkinis on beaches — despite the fact headscarves and burkinis provide an opportunity for Muslim women to take part in civil engagement and French lifestyle while also adhering to their practices and beliefs.
Hollande also said Nikolas Sarkozy, former French president and candidate for the 2017 French presidential elections, is "the little De Gaulle," and a "Duracell bunny who is perpetually agitated." He told the authors he would vote for Sarkozy rather than ultra-conservative National Front's Marine Le Pen.
But based on these statements alone, Hollande's sentiments toward French Muslims and immigrants aren't drastically different from Le Pen's.