President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday sent a strong signal to France’s disaffected minorities by appointing an outspoken advocate of Muslim women and a woman of Senegalese origin Tuesday to his government – among France’s most diverse ever. As junior minister for city policy, feminist activist Fadela Amara will oversee the renovation of dilapidated housing estates where many immigrants live – neighborhoods similar to the one she grew up in with her Algerian immigrant parents. Senegalese-born Rama Yade was appointed to a new post of junior minister for human rights, an area Sarkozy has identified as a priority for his month-old government, which he reshuffled and expanded Tuesday after his governing conservative party did not fare as well as expected in weekend parliamentary elections.

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