A far-right presidential candidate in France has called for the assimilation of French Muslims.
In an interview aired on the TF1 television channel, Eric Zemmour vowed to be "the president of all French people" including French Muslims, if he wins the election to be held slated for April 2022.
Underlining that he does not "distinguish between Islamism and Islam" but rather between Islam and individual Muslims, Zemmour argued that French Muslims should assimilate and "renounce" the practice of the religion that he said "imposes a legal and political code" on them.
Dismissing earlier remarks he made on women during his years as a journalist, he said he was the best candidate for female voters, as well, and that women today were not threatened by a "hypothetical white patriarchy."
Zemmour has made highly divisive remarks with ultraconservative views on national identity including against Muslims, Islam, migrants, Black people, and other minorities.
He has also faced legal action for racist remarks and religious hate speech, including a 2010 sentence for saying that most drug dealers were "Blacks and Arabs."
In September 2019, he was fined €3,000 ($3,500) for a hateful rant against Muslims during a television appearance.
Zemmour was born in Paris in 1958 to a Jewish family of Algerian origin that came to France during the Algerian War of Independence.
The 63-year-old started a career in journalism at Quotidien de Paris in 1994, joining right-wing newspaper Le Figaro in 1996.
He was fired from Le Figaro in 2009 for his controversial remarks but started writing a weekly column for Le Figaro Magazine in 2013.
Zemmour has authored books and has been a part of several television programs since the 2000s, giving him a platform to disseminate his contentious views and to gain a large following in France.