People hold a banner reading: 'islamic fascism shall not pass" during a demonstration in Paris, Saturday Nov.10, 2012. France is home to Western Europe's largest population of Muslims, estimated to be at least 5 million even though the government does not provide official figures. Many have family roots in former French colonies in northern Africa. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
PARIS — Hundreds of French nationalists have demonstrated in Paris against Islamist extremism, chanting the French anthem and saying the religion has no place in the country.
Protester Romain Cyiril says, “France was always a welcoming country, but for the first time we have to deal with a religion which can’t and doesn’t want to integrate itself.”
Three weeks ago, dozens of far-right French activists stormed an unfinished mosque to protest immigration policies that have made France home to Western Europe’s largest population of Muslims. There are an estimated 5 million or more Muslims in this nation of 65 million, although under French law the government does not track religion.
The French government has denounced anti-Islam extremists.
Saturday’s protest was organized by a nationalist group called the Republican Resistance.