From The National Post
Sarkozy defends Swiss vote to ban minarets
James Mackenzie, Reuters Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Valentin Flauraud/Reuters Protesters demonstrate the vote to ban minarets in Switzerland, Dec. 1, 2009
PARIS — French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Switzerland’s vote to ban new minarets showed why it was vital for France to hold an extended debate on national identity despite criticism that it has only fuelled racist views.
In a column in the daily Le Monde on Tuesday, Mr. Sarkozy defended the Swiss referendum against widespread criticism in France, saying it had laid bare fears of a loss of identity that should not be ignored.
“Instead of condemning the Swiss out of hand, we should try to understand what they meant to express and what so many people in Europe feel, including people in France,” he wrote.
“Nothing would be worse than denial.”