France's Hollande pledges renewed secularist push

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PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande has pledged to redouble efforts to shore up France's cherished secular traditions in response to threats from religious extremists like the radical Islamic terrorists who murdered 17 people last month.

Hollande said that the "Spirit of Jan. 11" that saw millions of French people turn out in a massive display of solidarity after the three days of terror had "impressed the world."

"Secularism is not negotiable," Hollande said during a press conference at the Elysee Palace. "It is a guarantee for France against intolerance that comes from the inside and from influences that come from the outside."

Hollande said a package of measures promoting secularism in schools, strengthening French language instruction, combatting school dropout rates and improving imams' training would be presented in May.

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