Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has signed a petition in a far–right magazine under the title "Don't touch our churches" after a French Muslim leader called for empty places of Christian worship to be converted into mosques.

Sarkozy added his name to a list of signatories that includes controversial writer and political journalist Éric Zemmour and philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, as well as Jeannette Bougrab, partner of the late Stéphane Charbonnier, Charlie Hebdo editor .

The petition, published in the magazine Valeurs Actuelles comes after Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris said he was in favour of turning empty churches into mosques due to the serious shortage of places of worship for Muslims.

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