French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Thursday in a nationally televised debate that multiculturalism was a "failure," warning that such a concept fostered extremism.
"We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," Sarkozy said.
The French leader said that while it's important to respect cultural differences, France should be a place with a national community - not a place where different cultural communities just coexist.
"Our Muslim compatriots must be able to practice their religion, as any citizen can," Sarkozy said. "But we in France do not want people to pray in an ostentatious way in the street."
"'If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community," he continued. "And if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France".
Sarkozy's comments echo those of other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"We don't tolerate racism in our society carried out by white people; we shouldn't tolerate extremism carried out by other people," Cameron stated last month in his first speech on Islamic radicalization.
"It certainly means changing the practice, changing the groups you fund, the people you engage …the people you let into the country," he added. "It needs a whole new way of thinking."