"It's true that the increase in the number of faithful in (Islam), a certain number of behaviours, poses a problem," he said on Monday.
Singling out the "problem" of Muslims praying in the street, he said that France's secular law dates from 1905 when there were "very few Muslims", while their number today is between five and six million. The anti-racism group SOS Racisme said it would be launching legal action against Mr Gueant for inciting racial hatred.
The proposals discussed last night included banning Muslim mothers from wearing headscarves when accompanying school field trips, and preventing parents from taking their children out of compulsory subjects like gym and biology.
UMP leader Jean-Francois Copé denied the debate was an attempt to woo National Front voters. "They denounce (Muslim practices). We are making proposals" to ease social tensions, he said.
Mr Gueant's interior ministry predecessor Brice Hortefeux was also charged with racism after being caught on camera saying of Muslims: "When there's one that's OK, it's when there are several that it becomes problematic."
Hat tip to Weasel Zippers for this picture of Friday prayers in Paris: