PARIS (AP) -- France's prime minister was scrambling to dispel concerns in France's Jewish and Muslim communities over critical comments he made about the ritual slaughter of animals for kosher and halal meat.
Francois Fillon's call for religions to "reflect" upon allegedly outdated traditions has fed a hyper-charged political atmosphere with France's presidential election looming within two months.
Jewish leaders hosted Wednesday by Fillon said he assured them that Judiasm wasn't targeted but insisted they would keep an eye on government policy. Fillon, who was appointed by conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, was to meet with Muslim leaders on Thursday.
Polls suggest Sarkozy is facing a tough re-election battle. Most French are Roman Catholic though the state insists it is secular.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)