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Islam Became A 'Problem' In France When Muslims Became French

For decades, France did well in accommodating the religious needs of Muslims — on the condition they went back to their country of origin. Now, demands to express one's faith are often labeled: separatism.

A march against Islamphobia in Paris
A march against Islamphobia in Paris
Hicham Benaissa

—Analysis

PARIS — There is a new bill before the French National Assembly that calls for "reinforcing the respect of the principles of the Republic," and fight against Islamist "separatism." We already know that among the key aims of current amendments would be to restrict — in the name of secularism — the expression of religious affiliation within different sectors of social life. It may apply to those who work in public services, hospitals and universities, and could impose the principle of religious neutrality on all public sector employees.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 86: Putin Turns Up The Dial In Donbas

Russia may allow over-40s to enlist in military as resources are needed to step up the assault in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldier and his dog on the outskirt of the separatist region of Donetsk

Irene Caselli, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Signs are pointing to Russian combat operations accelerating in the southeastern Donbas region, as the invasion in Ukraine nears the three-month mark. The British Ministry of Defence said Friday that more Russian troops are likely to be deployed to Donbas to reinforce operations there once they finish securing the strategic port city of Mariupol, where a growing numbers of Ukrainian soldiers has surrendered this week.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainian students during a virtual address on Thursday that the war is not over yet, and is entering “the final stage (which) is the most difficult, the bloodiest.” He added that it is not time yet for him to tell Ukrainians abroad to return home.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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