Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that France had sometimes made mistakes in unfairly targeting Muslims, suggesting the country could be less stringent in applying its rules on secularism.

He made his comments at a rally in the southern city of Monpellier, but he again stopped short of saying he would stand in next year's presidential election.

"No religion is a problem in France today," he told the crowd. "If the state should be neutral, which is at the heart of secularism, we have a duty to let everybody practice their religion with dignity."

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