France's head of state Emmanuel Macron has been criticized for interviewing a right-wing magazine. Macron talked to Valeurs Actuelles about migration and Islam. He pointed out that he wanted to fight against parallel societies and illegal immigration. "I prefer legal immigrants from Guinea or Ivory Coast (...) instead of illegal Ukrainian or Bulgarian gangs," Macron said.
The French right-wing populists then accused the president of not acting hard enough against Islamists. On the other hand, left-wing politicians criticize Macron for speaking in a journal attributed to the ultra-rightist camp. They accuse him of wanting to recruit voters on the right. Government members defended the interview. It was important to address all the French through all media, said a government spokeswoman.
Macron told the magazine that he was fighting firmly against Islamism and the isolation of Muslims. But it is a trap to equate such tendencies with Islam itself. At the same time, he acknowledged that there are people in France "who are not integrated, who have turned their backs on the republic". They used religion to provoke the republic.
Dispute about wearing headscarves
The President also commented on the current dispute over headscarves: He opposed a bill designed to ban mothers from wearing headgear during school trips. Such a ban would "humiliate" women, he warned.
The argument had set in because a mother wearing a headscarf had accompanied students on a school trip. In state schools, the headscarf and other visible religious symbols have been banned for about 15 years. The Senate had approved the bill on Tuesday evening by a conservative majority.
The French journal Valeurs Actuelles describes itself as right-wing conservative. However, the magazine is often the mouthpiece of the FN, especially when it comes to migrants.