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Are French Muslims integrated? Depends on what you mean by integration


I don’t think we needed an academic to tell us this, it’s what a lot of us who have been watching France have been saying for years.:

Are French Muslims integrated? Depends on what you mean by integration

Jennifer Fredette, assistant professor of political science at Ohio University and author of Constructing Muslims in France – Discourse, Public Identity, and the Politics of Citizenship, takes up the misuse of the term “integration” in the French context, where it is reinterpreted to justify a one-sided and discriminatory demand for assimilation:

The social scientific definition of “integration” refers to a dual process whereby immigrants embrace and become invested in their new home and are, in turn, accepted as equals by those who were there before them. In French political discourse, however, the term “integration” generally loses the reciprocal connotation. Here, a “failure of integration” refers lopsidedly to the inability of immigrants to assimilate into local customs and attitudes, consequently retaining markers of social difference that set them apart….

Politicians on the far right are not alone in questioning the civic virtues of French Muslims: they are joined by politicians on the center-right and the left. The media are full of articles questioning the Frenchness of Muslims. Several respected intellectuals have gone so far as to critique Islam or practices some Muslims choose to follow as incompatible with the Republic.

When these shapers of public opinion consistently raise criticisms of Muslims and demand legal action against the headscarf in public primary and secondary schools, universities, and beach areas; against the niqab in public; and against prayer in the streets (which resulted from a lack of prayer space and open hostility at the municipal level to mosque construction), they rarely exhibit any self-awareness that they themselves are standing in the way of the second half of integration.

Monkey Cage, 29 July 2014

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  • George Carty

    I don’t see the connection between Napoleon and colonialism, as Napoleon sought to build his empire in Europe and had only a few non-European colonies.

    The first French colonial empire (New France, Saint-Domingue, French India etc) was built by the Bourbon monarchy (and mostly lost to the British in the Seven Years’ War). The second French colonial empire (which ruled a lot of Arab and African lands, along with Indochina) was most built under the Third Republic (except for Algeria, which was conquered earlier on, mostly under the Orléanist monarchy). The Third Republic were particularly ardent colonialists, because they sought to compensate abroad for their loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1870.

    And AIUI French assimilation policies have worked very well, provided the immigrants in question are not Muslims. Look at former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose surname betrays his Hungarian ancestry.

    Muslim unwillingness to assimilate is probably why many Europeans are
    Islamophobic even if they are not racist in any other sense. (That, and the fact that Europe spend centuries defining itself against Islam.)

  • George Carty

    “Kingdom of Wahhabi Repression” — I like it 😉

  • Aditya Iyer

    Sorry buddy i have to disagree with you on this one. Personally I hate the concept of saying ‘tolerance’ towards other faiths when it should be respect. You wouldn’t tell your partner I am tolerating you, would you? I doubt you will have a pleasant evening. But anyways, reverting to the topic, I have spent nearly two decades in the middle east and nearly half of that in Europe and am pleasantly surprised to see non Christian places of worship such temples /gurudwaras/ synagogues/mosques etc… decently represented which is unfortunately not the case in the Gulf. In a number of cases I have been told by my European colleagues to visit such-n-such place of worship as it from my faith.A few have even been there themselves out of curiosity. As far as immigrants are concerned, once you manage to cross the language barrier life gets a lot easier. Of course I am disregarding history here and just speaking about things as they are now.

  • Awesome

    And to add further to that, what western intelligence and leaders mean with a few other terms:

    “Terrorist” – a Muslim who does not oppose the religion of Islam and/or engages in activities that do not involve opposing the religion of Islam or supporting those who do

    “The American People” – American CEOs and board directors of their corporate sponsors

    “Homeland” – The domain and dominion of the oligarchs

    “Security” – The protection of the interests and vanities of the oligarchs

    “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” – Physical and mental torture that can cause temporary or permanent injury or death, and is primarily used to humiliate for the sake of humiliation and/or for the entertainment of the interrogators

  • eslaporte

    Also include to that what Western intelligence and leaders also mean :

    “Radicalization” – means a Muslim that is dressing like a Muslim, following religious observances of Muslims, active in politics and/or hold and express opinions that are “anti-Western,” such as believing that Muslims are oppressed. No belief in violence and planning violent attacks needed,

    “Polarization” – means a Muslim or Muslim group active in politics in Western countries, such as protesting discrimination against Muslims and protesting the criminal events in Gaza. You are Muslim and you are dividing society, never mind what the EDL or Geert Wilders does !

    “Terrorism” – also means an individual committing and act of violence or murder on another individual when the perpetrator claims “jihad made me do it.” So, to be declaired a “terrorist” just stab another person on a street in a Western city (Amsterdam or Woolwich) and claim “jihad made me do it!” You will be declaired a “threat to free speech, free press, our values, gay rights, women’s rights, and threat to national survival” no matter what the actually circumstances are …

  • 1DrM

    Europe’s “tolerance”? Now there’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one. One look at Europe and it’s “leaders” and discourse vis–à–vis immigrants, Islam, and Muslims shows just how intolerant Europeans really are.
    Go peddle your simple minded lies elsewhere. While you’re at it pick up and read a history book. You might learn something.

  • 1DrM

    “Beacon of light”? Those of us familiar with Europe’s history, past and present know that’s false advertizing. In fact, it’s utter rubbish, a convenient, moth bitten lie. For you to bring up the secular western puppet state of Saudi Arabia as your red herring shows how ignorant and mendacious you are.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Mermaids! Ariel exists?!

  • Anonymous

    It’s “People” like her who make the world a shitty place to live.

    To Ayaan Hirsi Magan/Ali I say this: Go to the deepest pits of hell you subhuman piece of dog shit and I hope you suffer and die from the worst forms of cancer.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Oh yeah, that ceasefire with 72 peace filled hours?

  • The greenmantle

    Its a secret .

    But because you are such a nice chap I will tell you where it can be found

    36 Quai des Orfevres

    Sir David

  • Awesome

    Muslims are allowed into Vatican city, Non Muslims are not allowed into Mecca and Medina, is that equality? (since you raise the comparison).

    – There are parts of Vatican City with restricted access as well so that difference is negligible.

    In reality it would be unthinkable for 10 million Christians to go to Pakistan and expect to be treated as equals in law and in society. The Christians there already have problems. Syria and Iraq, we only have to look at the news. Algeria and Nigeria have major problems too.

    – How society treats people varies depending on circumstances, as people, especially minorities, may have an unpleasant experience in times of conflict, as opposed to times of relative peace where they may have a relatively pleasant experience. This is the case almost anywhere, as socially, tolerance and equality are generally favored more in peacetime than in times of conflict. In terms of law, all countries have discriminatory policies against certain groups of people, whether it is against foreigners, immigrants, minorities, people below a certain level of income, etc. In the case of countries with a state religion like Pakistan, their policies would, by definition, be discriminatory towards those who are not of the state’s religion. However, their laws only restrict non-Muslims from holding certain government positions, and that type of limited discrimination is negligible. Syria is officially secular and allows its country’s religions to more-or-less govern themselves. The governing policies of Iraq, Libya, Algeria and Nigeria allow freedom of religion to varying degrees. Nigerians are almost 50/50 between Muslims and Christians, and does not appear to have a state religion.

    However, there is obviously some conflict in those countries, but even so, that conflict does not really reflect on the government’s stance in terms of equality among its residents.

    How many Muslims have been murdered in Europe because of their religion?

    – Not that many, since most European countries aren’t suffering from the type of conflict that would precipitate it. It’s interesting how the treatment of minorities by society is subject to whether the country is at peace or in turmoil.

    My point regarding Saudi Arabia was simply that its difficult to set a precedent for inequality and then point the finger at any Country in Europe as having anything like the inequality or hindrance to ‘integration’ as that place.
    As already said, the vast majority of Europe welcome immigration, there will always be idiots in any society but these are a tiny minority.


    – Those types of idiots tend to be a tiny minority in every society. However, even if the inequality is not as bad as it is in other countries, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still inequality. Equality is an ideal, and charges of inequality are generally based on how certain policies/attitudes measure up to that ideal.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Halal, Jihad, Taqiyya, Jizyah, Dhimmi?

  • Kataro Quasinzki

    The Saudi regime used oil to cultivate and spread the otherwise detested the Wahhabi branch of Islam, haven’t you noticed how perversely different the kingdom of Wahhabi repression (KWR) than other Muslim-majority countries?

    The KWR is a well-integrated part of the world right-wing establishment – no honor among thieves though, look at what happened to the Shah, for instance – fomenting sectarianism, destabilizing countries – “e.g. Financing the Syrian “opposition” of sectarian and reactionary hoodlums and mercenaries – completely in line with other Western regimes, curious, huh?

    Haven’t you also noticed how all the 5 plagues – Uncle Sam, the Élysée, 10 Downing St. The apartheid garrison state of Israel and the KRW – agree on all major issues? Because they’re all one in the same. So please spare us the tired canard of European or Western supremacy and willful blindness.

  • Ilisha

    My point regarding Saudi Arabia was simply that its difficult to set a precedent for inequality and then point the finger at any Country in Europe

    We most certainly can point fingers. European countries boast of certain ideals. I see no reason they shouldn’t be held to their own proclamations.

    Besides, a Muslim living in France has ZERO control over policies in Saudi Arabia. Are you really saying their rights should be curtailed because of the behavior of others, simply because they share the same religion?

    If that’s your argument, then Muslims are justified in mistreating Christians in countries where Christian-majority countries have invaded. Why not predicate Christian rights on the behavior of their co-religionists in faraway lands?

    Because that’s also unjust.

    Non Muslims are not allowed into Mecca and Medina, is that equality?

    Saudi Arabia doesn’t have Christian citizens. Whatever rights they have there are as travelers or expat workers.

    It’s worth noting also that Muslims aren’t allowed to pray in the “cathedral” at Cordoba, which was originally built by and for Muslims. Yes, they can visit but if they try to pray, they face arrest. And that is the case even if they are CITIZENS of Spain. The Christians have put their baroque-style idols in the mosque and claimed it as their own, whereas Turkey has taken disputed mosque/cathedrals like the Hagia Sophia and converted them to secular, public museums for everyone’s enjoyment.

    Saudi Arabia is the ONLY country that I know of that has these kinds of restrictions, and the only country that doesn’t allow churches. Why should this ONE country set the standard by which ALL Muslims are judged? There are more than 50 Muslim countries.

    You have singled out Saudi Arabia, which has NOTHING TO DO WITH FRENCH MUSLIMS, and decided we are only entitled to hold the countries we live in to the same standard as Saudi domestic policy, whether we agree with it or not.

    Frankly, that’s absurd. I can’t believe you’re persisting with this obviously flawed line of reasoning.

  • Ilisha

    I was born and raised in the United States, and no, I don’t dislike Westerners.

  • Ilisha

    I’m not goong to address “mass slaughter” of Christians in the “Islamic world” because I’m not aware of any. Certainly not in Saudi Arabia, which is the country we’re discussing.

    I’ve spoken out countless times against the persecution of religious minorities, including in comments here today with regard to IS in Iraq. Unjust violence and persecution are wrong, no matter who is the perpetrator. You have no basis for assuming I believe otherwise.

    Also, I have no use for the Saudi regime and have harshly criticized them repeatedly in comments on this very forum. However, I feel Muslim majority countries have every right to base their society on Islamic values if they so choose. If I want to live in an Islamic society, I should have the right. If the West has its way, there won’t be any such thing left on earth. Imposing your values on others is a form of tyranny.

    I have no doubt you’re being open and honest. I do have a doubt when it comes to whether you’re really listening and considering what I’m saying. You seem either unwilling or unable to step outside your own sociopolitical frame. I’m not reluctant or hostile.

  • Awesome

    And what exactly does Europe’s tolerance vs. Saudi Arabia’s tolerance have to do with how the French define “integration”?

    Also, why is Saudi Arabia compared to Europe when Europe is an entire continent of many countries, when Saudi Arabia is only one country? That is not a fair comparison. In terms of religious tolerance, Saudi Arabia is more comparable to Vatican City.

    Both Saudi Arabia and Vatican City:
    – Are sovereign nations
    – Are dedicated exclusively to their respective religions

    However, unlike Vatican City, the dedication of Saudi Arabia – though it is a much larger area – exclusively to Islam is an actual religious mandate. There are 48 other predominantly-Muslim countries that are more comparable to the other European countries in terms of religious tolerance. It would be more honest on your part to make those comparisons instead to prove your point of Europe being a “beacon of light” in terms of cultural and religious tolerance.

  • golden izanagi
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