January 29, 2015: Muslim Diaspora in France
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
- 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
- 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
- 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