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Lecture 13

REI 3350 Lecture 13: Jan 29 - Muslim Diaspora in France.pdf

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Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity
Course Code
REI 3350
Ramin Jahanbelgloo

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January 29, 2015: Muslim Diaspora in France Readings: - terrorist bombings of the public transport systems ofMadrid and London have sparked fears that Europe may be breeding its own crop of indigenous jihadists. - France, now home to 4-5milion Muslims,the largest Muslim population on the continent. - Most Muslims inFrance-half to three-fifths of whom are believed to be French citizens-have adopted French cultural norms;they enthusiastically endors republic values,including laicite(the French state’s aggressive official secularism) - FRANCE HAS experienced large-scale immigration for a century and a half; immigrants and their children and grandchildren now account for almost a quarter of the country's population. - the separation of church and state inFrance came into its own at the end of the nineteenth century when legislation stripped the Catholic clergy of its traditional influence in schools,hospitals,and courthouse - Even the radical Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIFa),group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, boasts solid republican credentials when it decried the head scarf ban as evidence that the French government - That the outburst has been understood as evidence of Muslims’ failed integration suggests a more subtle problem:the public discourse tends to pathologize FII and blame them for standing out while overlooking promising developments that could paint amore balanced picture. - Islamist terrorism remains a serious challenge, but inFrance-and in much of Europe-a gulf of belief, experience, and aspiration separates jihadists and their potential recruits from the majority of Muslims, who are toiling to fit in, not stand out. - Despite fears thatMuslims would display less than complete loyalty to French values Muslim FII have largely acted as independent citizens, keeping their religious beliefs in line with republicanism. - if discrimination continues to go unaddressed, there is a real danger that French Muslims might get used to being treated as though their religious and ethnic identity was decisive and then start resorting to a kind of defensive identity politics. - In the worst case, a disenfranchised group might start seeing itself as a marginalized minority, break away from mainstream republican values, and endorse a supranational Muslim community (umma) as an alternative society. - Interviews with 41 North African women show that younger, well educated women defend the head scarf as a matter of personal liberty and cultural expression. Older poorly educated women either defend or reject the veil but never discuss the issue of secularism. - Immigrants represent a little more than 7 percent of the French population - Historically,immigration to France has consisted of people from other Catholic European countries and immigrants from French colonies in Africa. - Many African and Maghreb in laborers originally came to France without their families, and unlike European immigrants who arrived at the same time, they were not encouraged to settle in France permanently - In the 1970s, French policy changed to allow family reunification for migrant workers,yet financial subsidies for immigrants willing to return home reflected the government’s hope that many of these immigrants would leave France after retirement. - this was not the case - As members of the second generation are born in France,families become more rooted and less likely to leave. - Thanks to family reunification and children born to immigrants,Islam,with four million adherents,is now the second largest religion in France - In France,North African men are especially likely to hold manual jobs in factories or construction.Women are less likely to work than men, and when they do, they often engage in paid domestic work, cleaning, and child care. - Although French nationality can be acquired after five years of permanent residence, only 15 percent of Algerian and Moroccan immigrants and one-third of Tunisian immigrants have become French citizens - This is due in large part to discrimination and the lasting effects of France's colonial policies that
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