French President Francois Hollande (left) comforts French columnist for Charlie Hebdo Patrick Pelloux as they take part in a solidarity march in Paris on Sunday. (AFP photo)
President Francois Hollande says France's millions of Muslims should be protected and respected and in turn they should also respect the nation's strict secular policies.
Mr Hollande spoke on Thursday after three radical Muslim gunmen killed 17 people last week in France's worst attacks in decades. Two of the attackers claimed allegiances to Al Qaeda in Yemen and another to the Islamic State group.
The terror attacks have prompted scattered retaliatory attacks on Muslim sites around France and have put many French Muslims on the defensive.
Mr Hollande said that "anti-Muslim acts, like anti-Semitism, should not just be denounced but severely punished."