French President Francois Hollande
Algiers – Hocine Bousalah
Speaking after accepting an honorary doctorate at the Abou Bekr Belakid University, the French President Francois Hollande said: “The best weapons for combating intolerance exist in Islam itself.” The talk came after the French leader received an honorary doctorate at the Algerian city of Tlemcen.
Hollande also highlighted Islam’s prominent “contribution to the shared human heritage” and spoke about the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre in Paris - having recently opened a new set of galleries for it.
Hollande said the department “testified” to the legacy of cultural variations unrelated to the “discrimination” from which he said Algerians had suffered from, referring to the French colonisation of the north-African country.
He described “partnership” between France and Algeria as being an “opportunity” that “young people should invest in.”
Speaking at the conclusion of a controversial visit during which he did not apologise for French colonial practices but “acknowledged” France’s activities in Algeria as having been “brutal” and “unfair,” Hollande emphasised the need to “look to the future.” The past, Hollande said, should not be a “point of contention” that prevents that.
Hollande, who has concluded a two day visit to Algeria, also described shaking hands with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as “a historical moment.”