For the host community it means recognizing what the incomers can bring them. For the incomers it means respecting what was there before their arrival. For the host community it means offering to share their heritage, history, civilization and lifestyle.
For the incomers it means being willing to integrate smoothly, seamlessly, into the society they are going to contribute to transforming and the history they are now going to help write. The key to this mutual enrichment – the cross-fertilization of ideas, thinking and cultures – is successful assimilation. Responsibilities of Secularism
Respecting the incomers means allowing them to pray in decent places of worship. You don’t respect people when you force them to practice their religion in basements or sheds. We don’t respect our own values if we accept such situations. Since, once again, secularism (laicité) isn’t the rejection of all religions, but respect for all faiths. It’s a principle of neutrality, not a principle of indifference. When I was Interior Minister I created the French Council of the Muslim Faith so that the Muslim religion was put on an equal footing with all the other great religions.
Respecting the host community means striving not to clash with them, or shock them, respecting their values, beliefs, laws and traditions and – at least in part – adopting them. It means accepting gender equality, secularism and separation of the temporal and spiritual.
I want to tell my Muslim compatriots that I shall do the utmost to make them feel they are citizens like the others, enjoy the same rights as all the others to live their faith, practice their religion with the same freedom and the same dignity. I shall fight every form of discrimination.
But I want to tell them too that, in our country, where the Christian civilization has left such a deep imprint, where the Republic’s values are an integral part of our national identity, everything which might look like a challenge issued to that heritage and these values would doom to failure the very necessary establishment of a French Islam which, denying none of its fundamental tenets, will have found in itself the way to ensure its smooth inclusion in our social and civic pacts.
Christians, Jews and Muslims, people of every faith, believers, regardless of their beliefs, everyone must refrain from all ostentation and all provocation and, aware of their good fortune in living in a land of freedom, must practice their faith with the humble discretion which attests not to the lukewarm nature of their beliefs, but to the brotherly respect they feel towards people who do not think as they do, with whom they want to live.