French President Jacques Chirac called for greater inclusion of France's Muslim and North African communities into the nation's workforce, urging French companies to better reflect France's diversity. Chirac made the announcement in a televised speech on Tuesday, saying, "Companies and labor unions must get mobilized on the essential question of diversity.''
Widespread unemployment and poverty within France's growing Arab community is thought to be the main cause behind widespread civil unrest violence which has rocked France since October 27.
Nearly 8,600 cars were torched and some 2,700 people arrested in the worst public unrest since 1968, leading the French government to impose emergency laws and curfews to return calm to the streets of France.
On Monday, a Mosque in the town of St. Chamond, southwest of Lyon, was damaged when three firebombs were thrown at it, according to the <i>AFP</i>.
France has one of the largest Arab minority communities in Europe, amounting to some five million of France's population of 62 million.
Unemployment in many of France's pooper neighborhoods stands at more than 30 percent, and a recent study revealed that a white man with a French name is five times more likely to be called in for a job interview than a man with a Northern African name with a similar resume.
France's National Police Chief Michel Gaudin told reporters on Monday that efforts would be made to include more of France's minorities into the nation's police force.
"Our police must mirror the French society as it is in the year 2005,'' he said.