Excerpt:

Islam can co-exist with secularism, President Francois Hollande said Thursday, warning in a speech seen as preparing the ground for a re-election bid that the anti-terror fight should not undermine French values.

The deeply unpopular Hollande has yet to announce whether he will run for a second term next year, but is widely expected to be a candidate.

In a passionate plea for tolerance, he defended the country's Muslim minority following a vitriolic debate on the banning of the Islamic burkini swimsuit.

"Nothing in the idea of secularism opposes the practice of Islam in France, provided it respects the law," Hollande said.


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