French bishops have warned against what they call a growing "Catholic Islamophobia" as opinion polls show increasing concern in France about the role Muslims are playing in society and the perceived threat they present to French national identity.
The bishops' comments coincided with a call from France's Muslim Council for the Government to denounce what it said was a proven rise in anti-Muslim attacks.
Angoulême Bishop Claude Dagens, a member of the prestigious Académie Française, said it pained him to see anti-Muslim feelings growing among Catholics. "We are living in a society where fear is seeping into every corner," he told journalists during the bishops' plenary meeting in Lourdes last week.
Image: French Muslim woman talks on phone during train ride outside Paris Photo: CNS photo/Jean-Paul Pelissier, Reuters