Sarkozy calls for “unity” in facing the “challenge of Al Qaeda,” and encourages “values” of the West

Upon returning from a diplomatic tour of the Arab Gulf countries, Nicolas Sarkozy spoke with foreign ambassadors at the Elysee Palace on January 18th, highlighting the need to combat religious extremism and Al Qaeda, stressing the membership of France as a western family. To cope with these challenges, Sarkozy said: “some (religious) groups want to impose their fundamental hegemonic vision of intolerance… The most extreme form are the global terrorist networks of the Al Qaeda type, who dream of a confrontation of Islam against the West in order to better dictate their law to the people who are asking, however, to live their faith in peace.” The French president praised leaders in the Middle East citing their roles of moderation, but received some criticism concerning the pro-Western tone of his speech.