Macron visited a mosque in Paris to mark its 100th anniversary

PARIS (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron visited the central mosque in Paris on Wednesday to mark 100 years since its construction — a presidential stop for the French leader’s project to represent all factions of French society, united under one secular republic.

The visit comes just months after his re-election in April, in which debates over the veil and the role of Islam in secular France – home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population – have become a political hot potato. The centrist won his second term against far-right, anti-Islam candidate Marine Le Pen.

During an afternoon ceremony attended by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Army Minister Sebastien Lecornu, Macron unveiled a plaque marking France’s “recognition” of its Muslim soldiers.

The Great Mosque of Paris was built to honor the 70,000 Muslims who died for France during the First World War.

Macron also awarded the rector of the Great Mosque of Chemsa-Edin Hafiz with the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian decoration.

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