French minister's remarks seen as Muslim putdown - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

French minister's remarks seen as Muslim putdown

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PARIS (AP) -- One French minister says some civilizations -- notably France's -- are worth more than others.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant's weekend remarks at a private gathering have ignited a firestorm of protests, since they were taken as a putdown of Muslims. But he refused to retreat, instead confirming the comments Monday, calling his viewpoint "good sense."

Politicians in the rival Socialist Party called Gueant's remarks an attempt to lure voters from the far-right National Front to President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative camp.

France is holding a two-round presidential election in April and May. Polls show that Socialist candidate Francois Hollande has a healthy lead over Sarkozy.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-02-06-12 1137CST

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