London: France has not done enough to integrate its ethnic and religious minorities and needs to give Muslims a place in mainstream society, US diplomats have said in leaked cables published on Wednesday by a French newspaper.
According to The Telegraph, comments in diplomatic cables released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and published by the daily Le Monde show frustration over France`s record in assimilating minority groups and highlight concerns the problem could be deepening.
"France not only has a problem with integration or immigration; it also needs to act to give Muslims a sense of French identity," the US embassy in Paris said in a secret diplomatic cable to Washington dated August 17, 2005.
The comments foreshadowed a wave of violent clashes in December that year between youths, many of them second-generation immigrants, and police in the gritty suburban housing projects that ring major French cities.
Television footage of burning cars and rioting youths was beamed around the world, casting a spotlight on tension between the French government and descendants of immigrant groups, many of whom belonged to France`s five-million-strong Muslim community.
A succession of WikiLeaks releases has exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy and revealed at times frank views of foreign leaders, prompting charges of irresponsibility from countries, including France.
The cables published by Le Monde date back to mid-2005 and cover the presidencies of both Bush and Barack Obama, but there is little variation in US attitudes toward France and its policies on immigrants and minorities.
US diplomats said in the cables that France would suffer if it failed to build closer ties with minorities.