France's interior minister has walked into a firestorm of controversy with his weekend comments that some civilizations — notably his own — are worth more than others.

Critics saw Claude Gueant's comments as at best, misguided and cynical and, at worst, xenophobic, but he refused to back down Monday, confirming he had made the remarks Saturday at a meeting of right-wing youth and calling his viewpoint "good sense."

"Obvious words to note that not all civilizations have the same worth regarding the humanist values that are ours," Gueant said in an interview in the conservative daily Le Figaro.

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