Excerpt:

The 77-year-old former defence minister chosen to head France's new Foundation for Islam in France on Monday called on conservative Muslims to try harder to integrate into society.

The appointment of Jean-Pierre Chevenement sparked controversy in August, with many questioning why the post did not go to a Muslim, but to a political veteran known for his rigidly secular views.

Shortly after his nomination, he came under fire for tweeting that Muslims should "be discreet, like everyone else", in the midst of fiery debate over the "burkini" full-body swimsuit.

On Monday, he told a group of foreign correspondents he found it "in very bad taste of those (burkini-wearing) women to go bathing two weeks after the Nice attack, 20 or 30 kilometres (miles) away" from where 86 people were killed by a rampaging radicalised truck driver.


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