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फ्रांस में इस्लाम : Islam in France

तुर्की और फ़्रांस के बीच बने तनाव को हाल में ही एक विवाद ने और गहरा दिया है.

पिछले शुक्रवार को फ़्रांस के राष्ट्रपति इमैनुअल मैक्रों ने जिसे वह अपनी भाषा में “इस्लामिक अलगाववाद” कहते हैं, से निबटने और देश के धर्मनिरपेक्ष मूल्यों को बचाने के लिए सख़्त क़ानून लाने की योजनाओं की घोषणा की.

एक बहुप्रतीक्षित स्पीच में मैक्रों ने कहा कि फ़्रांस के अनुमानित 60 लाख मुसलमानों के एक अल्पसंख्यक तबक़े से “काउंटर-सोसाइटी” पैदा होने का ख़तरा है.

काउंटर सोसाइटी या काउंटर कल्चर का मतलब एक ऐसा समाज तैयार करना है जो कि उस देश के समाज की मूल संस्कृति से अलग होता है.

उन्होंने अपनी स्पीच में कहा, “इस्लाम एक ऐसा धर्म है जो कि आज पूरी दुनिया में संकट में है. ऐसा हम केवल अपने देश में होता नहीं देख रहे हैं.” उनके इस बयान से एक बखेड़ा खड़ा हो गया है. दुनियाभर के मुसलमानों की ओर से इस बयान पर कड़ी प्रतिक्रिया सामने आई है.


तुर्की के फ़्रांस के साथ रिश्ते
साथ ही इस बयान ने तुर्की को फ़्रांस पर हमलावर होने का एक और मौक़ा दे दिया है. तमाम मसलों को लेकर तुर्की के फ़्रांस के साथ रिश्ते पहले से ही तनावपूर्ण बने हुए थे. ऐसे में फ्रांसीसी राष्ट्रपति के मुसलमानों को लेकर दिए गए इस बयान से इन संबंधों के और नीचे जाने की आशंका पैदा हो गई है.

तुर्की के राष्ट्रपति रेसेप तय्यप अर्दोआन ने मंगलवार को फ़्रांस के राष्ट्रपति के मुस्लिमों को लेकर दिए गए बयान पर सख़्त प्रतिक्रिया देते हुए इसे एक “खुला उकसावा” क़रार दिया.

अर्दोआन ने पूछा, “इस्लाम की संरचना के बारे में बात करने वाले आप कौन होते हैं?” तुर्की के राष्ट्रपति ने मैक्रों पर अभद्र होने का आरोप लगाया.

अर्दोआन ने मैक्रों को सलाह दी कि वे “ऐसे मसलों पर बोलते वक़्त सावधानी बरतें.” उन्होंने कहा, “एक औपनिवेशिक गवर्नर की तरह से काम करने की बजाय हम उनसे एक ज़िम्मेदार राजनेता होने की उम्मीद करते हैं.”

जवाहरलाल नेहरू यूनिवर्सिटी के स्कूल ऑफ़ इंटरनेशनल स्टडीज़ के प्रोफ़ेसर एके पाशा कहते हैं, “फ़्रांसीसी राष्ट्रपति की चिंता को इस तरह से समझा जा सकता है कि इस्लामिक स्टेट (चरमपंथी संगठन) में शामिल होने और सीरिया या लीबिया में जाने वाले सबसे ज़्यादा नागरिक यूरोप में ब्रिटेन के बाद फ्रांस से ही थे.”

पाशा कहते हैं, “फ़्रांस की लीडरशिप को इन लोगों के समाज में इंटीग्रेशन को लेकर चिंता है.”

पाशा कहते हैं कि दूसरी ओर, “फ़्रांस में मुस्लिम समुदाय के ज़्यादातर लोग उत्तरी अफ्रीका के हैं और ये ग़रीब तबक़े के लोग हैं. अर्दोआन को लगता है कि ये मुस्लिम वहां शोषण का शिकार हो रहे हैं.”

अर्दोआन की टिप्पणी की क्या है वजह?
अंतरराष्ट्रीय मामलों के जानकार क़मर आग़ा कहते हैं कि अर्दोआन के रिएक्शन की राजनीतिक वजहें हैं.

वे कहते हैं, “अर्दोआन मुस्लिम वर्ल्ड के लीडर की भूमिका निभाना चाहते हैं. इस वक़्त सउदी अरब यमन की जँग में फँसा है और वहां के आंतरिक हालात ठीक नहीं हैं. ऐसे में जो शून्य पैदा हो रहा है उसे तुर्की भरने की कोशिश कर रहा है.”

वे कहते हैं कि दरअसल तीन ग़ैर-अरब मुल्क- तुर्की, पाकिस्तान और मलेशिया मिलकर मुस्लिम जगत की लीडरशिप हासिल करने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं.

आग़ा कहते हैं, “इस वक़्त एक तरह से मुस्लिम वर्ल्ड में विभाजन हो गया है और तुर्की मुसलमानों से जुड़े हुए किसी भी मसले पर टिप्पणी करता है.”

वे कहते हैं कि हालांकि, तुर्की की लीडरशिप अरबों को कभी भी स्वीकार्य नहीं होगी क्योंकि उनका तुर्की के साथ एक कड़वा अनुभव रहा है.

आग़ा कहते हैं, “तुर्की का मौजूदा नेतृत्व न तो कोई अच्छा धार्मिक लीडर है और न ही अच्छा पॉलिटिकल लीडर है. तुर्की में लिबरल इस्लामिक मूवमेंट को ख़त्म किया जा रहा है.”

दोनों के बीच किन मसलों को लेकर है तनाव?

इस्लाम को लेकर दिया गया मैक्रों का बयान और उस पर तुर्की की प्रतिक्रिया दोनों देशों के बीच तनाव की कोई इकलौती वजह नहीं है.

जवाहरलाल नेहरू यूनिवर्सिटी के स्कूल ऑफ़ इंटरनेशनल स्टडीज़ के प्रोफ़ेसर एके पाशा कहते हैं कि इन देशों के बीच विवाद का रिश्ता पहले विश्व युद्ध के समय का है.

पाशा कहते हैं, “फ़्रांस ने लीग ऑफ़ नेशंस के ज़रिए तुर्की के इलाक़े इदलिब और अलेप्पो को सीरिया में मिला दिया था. इन्हीं जगहों पर अभी भी लड़ाई हो रही है.”

वे कहते हैं कि फ़्रांस ने पहले विश्व युद्ध में ग्रीस का सपोर्ट किया था. इससे तुर्की के कई इलाक़े ग्रीस को मिल गए.

हाल में पिछले एक दशक में सीरिया और लीबिया में क्रमशः बशारुल असद और कर्नल मोअम्मर गद्दाफ़ी के ख़िलाफ़ चले आंदोलनों को लेकर भी दोनों देशों के हित टकराए हैं.

प्रोफ़ेसर एके पाशा कहते हैं, “अर्दोआन को लगता है कि जब चार साल पहले तुर्की में सैन्य बग़ावत हुई थी उसमें अमरीका के अलावा फ़्रांस भी इसराइल और यूएई के ज़रिए शामिल था. तब से ही इनके बीच में रिश्ते ख़राब होने शुरू हो गए थे.”

पूर्वी भूमध्यसागर में एक बड़े गैस रिज़र्व पर क़ब्जे और समुद्री अधिकार को लेकर ग्रीस और तुर्की के बीच विवाद गहराया हुआ है. इस मामले में फ़्रांस ग्रीस का पक्ष ले रहा है और तुर्की को इस पर कड़ी आपत्ति है.

ग्रीस और तुर्की के बीच इस मसले पर बढ़े हुए तनाव के बीच फ़्रांस ने पूर्वी भूमध्यसागर में दो रफ़ाल फ़ाइटर जेट और एक नौसेना फ्रिगेट तैनात करने का ऐलान कर दिया था.

फ़्रांसीसी राष्ट्रपति मैक्रों तुर्की से इस विवादित इलाक़े में तेल और गैस एक्सप्लोरेशन को रोकने की माँग कर चुके हैं.

इसके अलावा, आर्मीनिया और अज़रबैजान के बीच चल रहे युद्ध में तुर्की अज़रबैजान के साथ खड़ा है, जबकि फ़्रांस ने आर्मीनिया का साथ देने का ऐलान किया है. इस तरह से इस मसले पर भी दोनों देश एक-दूसरे के ख़िलाफ़ खड़े हो गए हैं.

इसके अलावा लीबिया संकट को लेकर भी तुर्की और फ़्रांस में ठनी हुई है. लीबिया संकट में तुर्की, इटली और क़तर जीएनए का समर्थन कर रहे हैं. दूसरी ओर, रूस, मिस्र और यूएई जनरल हफ़्तार के पक्ष में खड़े हैं.

हालांकि, फ़्रांस जनरल हफ़्तार को समर्थन देता दिखाई दे रहा है, लेकिन फ़्रांसीसी नेता इससे इनकार करते रहे हैं.

लीबिया में हथियारों को लेकर यूएन का प्रतिबंध है, लेकिन इसका शायद ही कोई असर पड़ा है.

लीबिया के ख़िलाफ़ हथियारों के प्रतिबंधों को लेकर हाल में ही फ़्रांस नाटो के एक सिक्योरिटी ऑपरेशन से अस्थाई तौर पर हट गया था. फ़्रांस ने आरोप लगाया था कि तुर्की लीबिया को हथियारों की चोरीछिपे आपूर्ति कर रहा है.


क्या और नीचे जाएंगे तुर्की और फ्रांस के संबंध?
पाशा कहते हैं कि दोनों के रिश्ते ख़राब ही हो रहे हैं. वे कहते हैं, “मैक्रों और अर्दोआन के बीच मामला अब पर्सनल हो गया है. दोनों एक-दूसरे की निजी बेइज़्ज़ती कर रहे हैं. तो ऐसे में संबंध सुधरने के आसार कम ही नज़र आ रहे हैं.”

आग़ा कहते हैं, “फ़्रांस और तुर्की के बीच पिछले कुछ वक़्त से चले आ रहे तनावपूर्ण संबंधों की एक बड़ी वजह इस्लामिक जगत की लीडरशिप है. इसके अलावा लीबिया, सीरिया और दूसरे देशों में फ़्रांस के हितों पर तुर्की चोट करना चाहता है.”

वे कहते हैं, “फ़्रांस में मौजूद बड़ी संख्या में मुस्लिम लोगों में चरमपंथ को तुर्की कहीं बढ़ावा तो नहीं दे रहा है, इसे लेकर भी फ़्रांस चिंतित है.”

आर्मीनिया और अज़रबैजान की जँग में माना जा रहा है कि तुर्की ने हज़ारों लड़ाके अज़रबैजान की ओर से लड़ने के लिए भेजे हैं.

आर्मीनिया यूरोप से सटा हुआ है. ऐसे में फ़्रांस को डर है कि वहां चरमपंथ बढ़ने का असर उसके यहां भी हो सकता है.

फ़्रांस में आतंकी घटनाएं
सितंबर के अंत में फ़्रांस की राजधानी पेरिस में एक शख़्स ने मांस काटने वाले क्लीवर से दो लोगों को ज़ख़्मी कर दिया था. इस शख़्स ने स्वीकार किया था कि उसने चार्ली हेब्दो मैगज़ीन के छापे गए कार्टूनों के विरोध में यह हमला किया था.

18 साल का यह शख़्स पाकिस्तानी मूल का था. इस हमले को एक चरमपंथी घटना के तौर पर लिया गया था.

इससे पहले 2015 में भी चार्ली हेब्दो के दफ़्तर पर जिहादियों ने हमला किया था और इसमें 12 लोग मारे गए थे. इनमें फ़्रांस के कुछ मशहूर कार्टूनिस्ट भी शामिल थे.

इस हमले के लिए 14 लोगों पर अभी भी मुक़दमा चल रहा है.

7 जनवरी 2015 को चार्ली हेब्दो पर हुए हमलों के बाद फ़्रांस में इन चरमपंथी घटनाओं की एक लहर सी आ गई थी. इन घटनाओं में सैकड़ों लोगों को अपनी जान गंवानी पड़ी है.

13 नवंबर 2015 को स्टाडे डे फ्रांस, बार, रेस्टोरेंट्स और बाटाक्लान कॉन्सर्ट हॉल पर श्रंखलाबद्ध हमलों में 130 लोगों की हत्या कर दी गई थी.

13 जून 2016 को मैग्ननविले में एक पुलिस कमांडर और उनके सहयोगी पर हमला किया गया.

2016 में नाइस में जिहादियों ने 86 लोगों की हत्या कर दी. इसमें बास्टिले डे मना रहे लोगों को एक लॉरी से कुचल दिया गया था.


फ्रांस में इस्लाम

मैक्रों के इस्लाम को लेकर दिए गए बयान के बाद से मुस्लिमों में नाराज़गी देखी जा रही है. कई मुस्लिम इसे मैक्रों की इस्लाम को लेकर नापसंदीदगी के तौर पर देख रहे हैं.

सोशल मीडिया पर कुछ लोगों ने लिखा है कि मैक्रों रैडिकल इस्लाम की बात करते-करते किसी भी तरह के इस्लाम के विरोध में उतर आए हैं और इस तरह से उन्होंने इस्लाम-विरोधी अपनी भावनाएं खुले तौर पर ज़ाहिर कर दी हैं.

फ़्रांस में इस्लामोफ़ोबिया या इस्लाम-विरोधी माहौल पिछले कुछ अरसे से जारी है. ख़ासतौर पर 2015 में चार्ली हेब्दो पर हमले के बाद इसमें बढ़ोतरी हुई है.

इस्लामिक रैडिकलाइज़ेशन पर क़मर आग़ा कहते हैं, “कट्टरपंथी विचारधारा से इस्लाम ही नहीं बल्कि वैश्विक शांति को भी ख़तरा है. अल-क़ायदा, आईएसआईएस, जैश-ए-मुहम्मद, लश्कर-ए-तैय्यबा जैसे संगठन निर्दोष लोगों को मार रहे हैं और पूरी दुनिया में फ़साद फैला रहे हैं. ये एक बड़ा ख़तरा हैं. अफ़ग़ानिस्तान, पाकिस्तान या इराक़ में अल्पसंख्यकों के ऊपर इन्होंने ज़ुल्म किए हैं. ये लिबरल इस्लाम के लिए भी एक ख़तरा हैं.”

वे कहते हैं, “इनके छेड़े गए जिहाद से पूरी दुनिया में मुसलमानों को नफ़रत का सामना करना पड़ रहा है. मुसलमानों को ही इससे सबसे ज़्य़ादा नुक़सान हो रहा है.”

मशहूर फ़्रांसीसी लेखक मीशेल वेलबेक ने अपने उपन्यास ‘सबमिशन’ में लिखा था कि साल 2022 तक फ्रांस का इस्लामीकरण हो जाएगा. देश में मुस्लिम राष्ट्रपति होगा और महिलाओं को नौकरी छोड़ने के लिए प्रेरित किया जाएगा. विश्वविद्यालयों में क़ुरआन पढ़ाई जाएगी.

इस उपन्यास पर काफ़ी विवाद छाया रहा. उपन्यास में कल्पना की गई है कि फ़्रांस में 2022 तक महिलाओं का पर्दा करना अच्छा माना जाएगा और एक से ज़्यादा शादी करना क़ानूनी हो जाएगा.

इसी साल फ़रवरी में फ़्रांस सरकार ने इस्लामी कट्टरपंथ और अलगाववाद से निपटने के लिए विदेशी इमामों के देश में प्रवेश पर रोक लगाने की योजना का ऐलान किया था. राष्ट्रपति इमैनुएल मैक्रों ने कहा था कि फ़्रांस में मौजूद सभी इमामों को फ़्रेंच सीखना अनिवार्य होगा. साथ ही उन्होंने कहा था कि फ़्रांस में रहने वाले लोगों को यहां के क़ानूनों का सख़्ती से पालन करना अनिवार्य होगा.

2015 की चरमपंथी घटनाओं के बाद फ़्रांस में रैडिकल इस्लाम पर लगाम लगाने की कोशिशें तेज़ हो गई हैं. नेशनल सिक्योरिटी के नाम पर कई मस्जिदें बंद कर दी गईं.

लंबे अरसे से फ़्रांस में “इस्लाम इन फ्रांस” को “इस्लाम ऑफ़ फ्रांस” में तब्दील करने की कोशिशें चल रही हैं. इसी के तहत मुस्लिमों में रैडिकलाइज़ेशन और चरमपंथ को रोकने के लिए फ़्रांस में तमाम उपाय किए जा रहे हैं.

अब राष्ट्रपति मैक्रों जिन उपायों को क़ानून के तौर पर लाने की बात कर रहे हैं ताकि “इस्लामिक अलगाववाद” को ख़त्म किया जा सके उनमें कई चीज़ें शामिल हैं.

इनमें खेल संगठनों और दूसरे एसोसिएशनों की कड़ी मॉनिटरिंग करना शामिल है ताकि वे इस्लामिक शिक्षा के लिए इस्तेमाल न किए जा सकें.

बाहरी देशों से इमामों का फ़्रांस में आना बंद कराया जाना भी इनमें शामिल है. मस्जिदों को होने वाली फ़ंडिंग पर भी गहरी निगरानी की बात इसमें है. साथ ही होम-स्कूलिंग पर पाबंदी लगाना भी इनमें शामिल किया गया है.

फ़्रांस के स्कूलों में हिजाब पहनने पर पहले से रोक है. साथ ही सरकारी नौकर अपने दफ़्तरों में भी हिजाब नहीं पहन सकते हैं.

प्रवीण शर्मा
बीबीसी हिंदी के लिए

—-

 

 

फ्रांस में इस्लाम धर्म

फ्रांस में इस्लाम धर्म कैथोलिक ईसाईयत के बाद दूसरा सबसे अधिक प्रचारित धर्म है।

पश्चिमी दुनिया में मुख्य रूप से उत्तरी अफ्रीकी और मध्य पूर्वी देशों से प्रवास के कारण फ्रांस में मुसलमानों की सबसे बड़ी संख्या है। 2017 के प्यू रिसर्च की रिपोर्ट में मुस्लिम आबादी का कुल आबादी का 5,720,000 या 8.8% हिस्सा है।

फ्रांस में अधिकांश मुसलमान सुन्नी संप्रदाय के हैं। फ्रांसीसी मुसलमानों का अधिकांश हिस्सा आप्रवासी मूल का है, जबकि अनुमानित 100,000 स्वदेशी जातीय फ्रांसीसी पृष्ठभूमि के इस्लाम में परिवर्तित हैं। मयोटे के फ्रांसीसी विदेशी क्षेत्र में बहुसंख्यक मुस्लिम आबादी है।

अधिक मुस्लिम आबादी
फ्रांस और जर्मनी ही नहीं, ब्रिटेन में भी बाहरी देशों से आकर बसने वालों, जिसमें मुस्लिम आबादी अधिक है, को शक की नज़रों से देखा जाता है.

यूरोप में सबसे ज़्यादा मुसलमान फ्रांस में रहते हैं जो क़रीब 50 लाख या आबादी का साढ़े सात फ़ीसदी हैं.

जर्मनी में मुसलमानों की संख्या 40 लाख या पांच फ़ीसदी जबकि ब्रिटेन में 30 लाख या पांच फ़ीसदी है.

2019 में फ्रांस की कुल जनसंख्या करीब 6.7 करोड़ थी। इसमें करीब 65 लाख मुस्लिम आबादी भी शामिल थी।

the Muslim population in Europe

BY CONRAD HACKETT

Muslims are a relatively small minority in Europe, making up roughly 5% of the population. However, in some countries, such as France and Sweden, the Muslim share of the population is higher. And, in the coming decades, the Muslim share of the continent’s population is expected to grow – and could more than double, according to Pew Research Center projections.

These demographic shifts have already led to political and social upheavals in many European countries, especially in the wake of the recent arrival of millions of asylum seekers, many of whom are Muslims. In recent national elections in France and Germany, for instance, immigration — and particularly Muslim immigration — were top issues.

Using Pew Research Center’s most recent population estimates, here are five facts about the size and makeup of the Muslim population in Europe :

France and Germany have the largest Muslim populations in Europe (defined as the 28 current European Union member countries plus Norway and Switzerland). As of mid-2016, there were 5.7 million Muslims in France (8.8% of the country’s population) and 5 million Muslims in Germany (6.1%). The EU country in which Muslims make up the largest share of the population is Cyprus: The island nation’s 300,000 Muslims make up about one-quarter (25.4%) of its population, and are mostly Turkish Cypriots with deep roots in Cyprus (and not recent migrants).


2The Muslim share of Europe’s total population has been increasing steadily and will continue to grow in the coming decades. From mid-2010 to mid-2016 alone, the share of Muslims in Europe rose more than 1 percentage point, from 3.8% to 4.9% (from 19.5 million to 25.8 million). By 2050, the share of the continent’s population that is Muslim could more than double, rising to 11.2% or more, depending on how much migration is allowed into Europe. Even in the unlikely event that future migration is permanently halted, the Muslim population still would rise to an estimated 7.4%, due to the relative youth and high fertility rates of Europe’s current Muslim residents.

3Muslims are much younger and have more children than other Europeans. In 2016, the median age of Muslims throughout Europe was 30.4, 13 years younger than the median for other Europeans (43.8). Looking at it another way, 50% of all European Muslims are under the age of 30, compared with 32% of non-Muslims in Europe. In addition, the average Muslim woman in Europe is expected to have 2.6 children, a full child more than the average non-Muslim woman (1.6 children).

4Between mid-2010 and mid-2016, migration was the biggest factor driving the growth of Muslim populations in Europe. An estimated 2.5 million Muslims came to Europe for reasons other than seeking asylum, such as for employment or to go to school. About 1.3 million more Muslims received (or are expected to receive) refugee status, allowing them to remain in Europe. An estimated 250,000 Muslims left the region during this period.

Natural growth was the secondary driver: Among European Muslims, there were 2.9 million more births than deaths during this period. Religious switching is estimated to be a small factor in Muslim population change, with roughly 160,000 more people switching away from Islam than converting into the faith during this period.

Views of Muslims vary widely across European countries
A 2016 Pew Research Center survey conducted in 10 nations found that negative views about Muslims prevailed in eastern and southern Europe. However, the majority of respondents in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands gave Muslims a favorable rating. Views about Muslims are tied to ideology. While 47% of Germans on the political right give Muslims an unfavorable rating, just 17% on the left do so. The gap between left and right is also roughly 30 percentage points in Italy and Greece.

PRIL 6, 2017
Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group

BY MICHAEL LIPKA AND CONRAD HACKETT
=========

In the next half century or so, Christianity’s long reign as the world’s largest religion may come to an end, according to a just-released report that builds on Pew Research Center’s original population growth projections for religious groups. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2015 and 2060 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.

While the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060. In 2015, Muslims made up 24.1% of the global population. Forty-five years later, they are expected to make up more than three-in-ten of the world’s people (31.1%).

The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple demographics. To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven other major religious groups analyzed in the study. Muslim women have an average of 2.9 children, significantly above the next-highest group (Christians at 2.6) and the average of all non-Muslims (2.2). In all major regions where there is a sizable Muslim population, Muslim fertility exceeds non-Muslim fertility.

The growth of the Muslim population also is helped by the fact that Muslims have the youngest median age (24 in 2015) of all major religious groups, more than seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims .

A larger share of Muslims will soon be at the point in their lives when people begin having children. This, combined with high fertility rates, will accelerate Muslim population growth.

More than a third of Muslims are concentrated in Africa and the Middle East, regions that are projected to have the biggest population increases. But even within these high-growth regions – as well as others – Muslims are projected to grow faster than members of other groups. For example, Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa, on average, are younger and have higher fertility than the overall population of the region. In fact, Muslims are expected to grow as a percentage of every region except Latin America and the Caribbean, where relatively few Muslims live.

The same dynamics hold true in many countries where Muslims live in large numbers alongside other religious groups. For example, India’s number of Muslims is growing at a faster rate than the country’s majority Hindu population, and is projected to rise from 14.9% of India’s 2015 population to 19.4% (or 333 million people) in 2060. And while there were similar numbers of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria as of 2015, Muslims have higher fertility there and are expected to grow to a solid majority of Nigeria’s population (60.5%) in 2060.

Meanwhile, religious switching – which is expected to hinder the growth of Christians by an estimated 72 million between 2015 and 2060 – is not expected to have a negative net impact on Muslim population growth.

Nationality of Imams in France (1990)

French Citizens 4%
Moroccan 40%
Algerian 25%
Turkish 13%
Tunisian 5%
Other 13%
Total Pop. 500 Imams

State involvement in the provision and training of Muslim clergy is also a question of concern to national security, as recent raids on Islamic religious centers in Hamburg and Milan have shown. Due to state inaction in the prison system, for example, a lack of state-provided Imams has created space for Islamic proselytizing to take root. With the share of Muslims in the prison population surpassing 50 percent, only forty-four clerics fulfill the state’s duty to provide religious consultation. By comparison, the prisons employ 460 Catholic clerics.

To address technical issues of Muslims’ religious needs, advisers in the Interior Ministry maintain close contact with the diverse components of the Muslim organizational world. The Ministry says it is “accompanying” the Muslims in their quest for centralized organization. But the inclusive nature of this consultation has provoked accusations of religious extremism and nationalism among rival associations. Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grande Mosquée de Paris, and his ally Soheib Bencheikh, Mufti of Marseille, have systematically opposed the inclusion of the UOIF, whose Moroccan spokesman they denounce as an Islamic extremist. Plans for a regional assembly election in spring 2002 have also been the subject of controversy. Delegates will be allotted according to a mosque’s surface area, which does not always reflect actual attendance. These technical questions of representation will likely prove resolvable, as the recent elections in Belgium have shown. Indeed in the French region of Alsace-Moselle, governed by a special state-church regime because is was under German control at the time of the 1905 law, organized Islam enjoys the same recognition and benefits as other officially recognized religions.

 

Reconciliation

While integration of Islam is taking place at the symbolic and institutional levels, political leaders have begun to confront France’s troubled past with Algeria. Plaques have gone up on the Pont Saint-Michel and in the Invalides courtyard commemorating Muslims who died during the Algerian war. The long-neglected Harkis, who had fought on the side of France and were massacred by nationalist Algerians, finally received a presidential day of honor. And the victims of police violence during a 1961 Paris protest—a still uncounted number of “French Muslim of Algerian origin” estimated at between 50 and 200—had their memory inscribed by the mayor at the site of their deaths. Indeed it was in the context of formally expressing gratitude to 100,000 Muslim soldiers who had died for France in WWI that the Grande Mosquée de Paris and Muslim Institute were founded in 1922, in contravention of the 1905 law. The recent official review of the historical service and suffering of France’s half-million Jews has certainly accelerated their community recognition and strengthened their hand in negotiations with the state. Will something similar happen with France’s Muslim population?

Reacting to the October 6 soccer match in Le Monde, the Algerian ambassador to France argued that the French state was equally responsible for the alienation of second-generation migrant youth, and called for their prompt social and political incorporation. The consequences of not integrating Islam into existing state-church structures would likely include an increase in foreign Imams and foreign money, and a decline in transparent and homegrown religious organization. Authorities would rightly fear the increasing hostility of a new generation excluded from public institutions; many also feel a duty to extend to them the promise of republican citizenship. President Chirac did not let a month pass after September’s attacks before convening leaders from the French Muslim world at the Elysée, and the new mayor of Paris organized a gala soirée du Ramadan at the Hôtel de Ville this year. But echoes from the bizarre soccer match still linger in the media, a striking counter-image to Algerian-born French star Zinedine Zidane’s heroics during the World and European Cup championships in 1998 and 2000 that won so much support among the French. When Franco-Portuguese youth whistled at the Marseilleise during a recent France-Portugal game, politicians and the press did not pay any attention. This reflects a strong impression that Arab-Muslim youth in particular have not been properly integrated into French society, and that achieving this will require the development of targeted state policy in domains where it is reluctant to act. How this occurs, over the course of the next decade, will be a major factor in the successful integration of one-third of Europe’s Muslim population.

फ्रांस में इस्लाम
कैथोलिक धर्म के बाद आज फ़्रांस में इस्लाम दूसरा सबसे बड़ा धर्म है और किसी भी पश्चिमी यूरोपीय देश की तुलना में इस देश में सबसे बड़ी मुस्लिम आबादी है। फ़्रांस में 1960 के दशक से मुख्य रूप से उत्तरी अफ्रीका (मोरक्को, अल्जीरिया और ट्यूनीशिया) और एक हद तक तुर्की तथा पश्चिम अफ्रीका जैसे क्षेत्रों से लोगों के आप्रवास और स्थायी पारिवारिक निवास के कारण यह परिणाम हुआ है।हालांकि धार्मिक आधार पर फ़्रांस में जनगणना करने पर प्रतिबंध है, लेकिन अनुमानों और सर्वेक्षणों से पता चलता है कि मुस्लिम आबादी 4% से 7% के बीच है।फ्रांस में मुस्लिम आबादी को फ़्रांसिसी समाज की मुख्यधारा में सामाजिक और सांस्कृतिक एकीकरण के लिए अनेक कठिनाइयों का सामना करना पड़ा है, सामाजिक-आर्थिक मुद्दों (अकुशल काम, निम्न आय, गरीब पड़ोसी आदि) और जातीय तथा धार्मिक (पूर्वाग्रह, “उग्रवादी इस्लाम” से चिंता, धर्मनिरपेक्ष देश में एकीकृत होने की समस्याएं आदि) दोनों प्रकार के मुद्दों के उदाहरण हाल के वर्षों में देखने को मिले हैं। मजदूर वर्ग और आप्रवासी उपनगरों में नागरिक अशांत और कानूनी/राजनीतिक मुद्दों पर ऐसे उदाहरण सामने आये हैं।

Islam in France

Islam is the second-most widely professed religion in France behind Christianity.

France has one of the largest number of Muslims in the Western world primarily due to migration from Maghrebi, West African, and Middle Eastern countries. A 2017 Pew Research report estimates the Muslim population of France to be 5,760,000 or 8.8% of the total population.

The majority of Muslims in France belong to the Sunni denomination. The vast majority of French Muslims are of immigrant origin, while an estimated 100,000 are converts to Islam of indigenous ethnic French background. The French overseas region of Mayotte has a majority Muslim population.

Thirty-nine percent of Muslims surveyed by the polling group IFOP said they observed Islam’s five prayers daily, a steady rise from 31 percent in 1994, according to the study published in the Catholic daily La Croix.

Mosque attendance for Friday prayers has risen to 23 percent in 2008, up from 16 percent in 1994, while Ramadan observance has reached 70 percent in 2008 compared to 60 percent in 1994, it said. Drinking alcohol, which Islam forbids, has also declined to 34 percent from 39 percent in 1994, according to the survey of 537 people of Muslim origin. and 70% said they “observe Ramadan”.

Statistics
Due to a law dating from 1872, the French Republic prohibits performing census by making distinction between its citizens regarding their race or their beliefs. However, that law does not concern surveys and polls, which are free to ask those questions if they wish. The law also allows for an exception for public institutions such as the INED or the INSEE whose job it is to collect data on demographics, social trends and other related subjects, on condition that the collection of such data has been authorized by the CNIL and the National Council of Statistical Information .

Estimations based on declaration
A study from INED and the INSEE in October 2010 concluded that France has 2.1 million “declared Muslims” aged 18–50 including between 70,000 and 110,000 converts to Islam.

Estimations based on people’s geographic origin
According to the French Government, which does not have the right to ask direct questions about religion and uses a criterion of people’s geographic origin as a basis for calculation, there were between 5 and 6 million Muslims in metropolitan France in 2010. The government counted all those people in France who migrated from countries with a dominant Muslim population, or whose parents did.

The United States Department of State placed it at roughly 10%, while two 2007 polls estimated it at about 3% of the total population The CIA World Factbook places it at 5–10%.

A Pew Forum study, published in January 2011, estimated 4.7 million Muslims in France in 2010 (and forecasted 6.9 million in 2030).

The French polling company IFOP estimated in 2016 that French Muslims number between 3 and 4 million, and criticized suggestions of a significant demographic religious slide (The so-called Grand Remplacement in French politics). IFOP claims that they make up 5.6% of those older than 15, and 10% of those younger than 25 According to an IFOP survey for the newspaper La Croix in 2011 , based on a combination of previous surveys, 75% of people from families “of Muslim origin” (sic) said they were believers. This is more than the previous study in 2007 (71%) but less than the one before 2001 (78%). This variation, caused by the declarative aspect of the survey, illustrates the difficulty of establishing precisely the number of believers. According to the same survey 155 people who had at-least one Muslim parent, 84.9% Identified as Muslims, 3.4% Identified as Christians, 10.0% identified as not religious and 1.3% belonged to other religions.

An Interior ministry source in l’Islam dans la République published the following estimated distribution of Muslims by Alain Boyer by affiliated countries in 1999:

Algeria 1,550,000
Morocco 1,000,000
Tunisia 350,000
Turkey 315,000
Sub-Saharan Africa 250,000
Middle East 100,000
remaining Asia (mostly Pakistan and Bangladesh) 100,000
Converts 40,000
Illegal immigrants or awaiting regularization 350,000
Other 100,000
Total 4,155,000

In 2008, thirty-nine percent of Muslims surveyed by the polling group IFOP said they observed Islam’s five prayers daily, a steady rise from 31 percent in 1994, according to the study published in the Catholic daily La Croix.

Mosque attendance for Friday prayers has risen to 23 percent, in 2008 up from 16 percent in 1994, while in 2008 Ramadan observance has reached 70 percent compared to 60 percent in 1994, it said. Drinking alcohol, which Islam forbids, has also declined to 34 percent from 39 percent in 1994, according to the survey of 537 people of Muslim origin.

A 2015 study found that up to 12,000 French Muslim converted to Christianity, but cited that this number may be underestimated, and it may include only Protestant converts

According to Michèle Tribalat , a researcher at INED, an acceptance of 5 to 6 million Muslims in France in 1999 was overestimated. Her work has shown that there were 3.7 million people of “possible Muslim faith” in France in 1999 (6.3% of the total population of Metropolitan France). In 2009, she estimated that the number of people of the Muslim faith in France was about 4.5 million.

According to Jean-Paul Gourévitch [fr], there were 8.5 million Muslims (about 1/8 of the population), in metropolitan France in 2017.

In 2017, François Héran, former Head of the Population Surveys Branch at INSEE and Director of INED (French National Institute for Demographic Research) between 1999 and 2009, stated that about one eighth of the French population was of Muslim origin in 2017 (8.4 million).

Pew Research Center predicts the muslim Population would rise to 8.6 million or 12.7 percent of the Country in 2050.

History – Early history

After their conquest of Spain, Muslim forces pushed into southern France. They were defeated at the Battle of Tours in 732 but held Septimania until 759.

In the 9th century, Muslim forces conquered several bases in southern France, including Fraxinet. They were expelled only in 975.

Barbarossa’s fleet in Toulon.
During the winter of 1543–1544, after the siege of Nice, Toulon was used as an Ottoman naval base under the admiral known as Hayreddin Barbarossa. The Christian population was temporarily evacuated, and Toulon Cathedral was briefly converted into a mosque until the Ottomans left the city.

After the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain in 1609–1614, about fifty thousand Moriscos entered France, according to the research of Henri Lapeyre.

1960-1970s labor immigration
Muslim immigration, mostly male, was high in the late 1960s and 1970s. The immigrants came primarily from Algeria and other North African colonies; however, Islam has an older history in France, since the Great Mosque of Paris was built in 1922, as a sign of recognition from the French Republic to the fallen Muslim tirailleurs mainly coming from Algeria, in particular at the battle of Verdun and the take-over of the Douaumont fort.

French Council of the Muslim Faith
Though the French State is secular, in recent years the government has tried to organize a representation of the French Muslims. In 2002, the then Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy initiated the creation of a “French Council of the Muslim Faith” (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman – CFCM), though wide criticism claimed this would only encourage communitarianism. Though the CFCM is informally recognized by the national government, it is a private nonprofit association with no special legal status. As of 2004, it is headed by the rector of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur – who harshly criticized the controversial Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) for involving itself in political matters during the 2005 riots. Nicolas Sarkozy’s views on laïcité have been widely criticized by left- and right-wing members of parliament; more specifically, he was accused, during the creation of the CFCM, of favoring the more extreme sectors of Muslim representation in the Council, in particular the UOIF.

Second generation immigrants
The first generation of Muslim immigrants, who are today mostly retired from the workforce, keep strong ties with their countries, where their families lived. In 1976, the government passed a law allowing families of these immigrants to settle; thus, many children and wives moved to France. Most immigrants, realizing that they couldn’t or didn’t want to return to their homeland, asked for French nationality before quietly retiring. However, many live alone in housing projects, having now lost their ties with their countries of origin.

Olivier Roy indicates that for first generation immigrants, the fact that they are Muslims is only one element among others. Their identification with their country of origin is much stronger: they see themselves first through their descent (Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians, etc.).

The false[citation needed] claim is brought up in American immigration discourse that a third of newborns in France have Muslim parents.

Maghrebis
According to Michel Tribalat, a researcher at INED, people of Maghrebi origin in France represent 82% of the Muslim population (43.2% from Algeria, 27.5% from Morocco and 11.4% from Tunisia). Others are from Sub-saharan Africa (9.3%) and Turkey (8.6%).She estimated that there were 3.5 million people of Maghrebi origin (with at least one grandparent from Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia) living in France in 2005 corresponding to 5.8% of the total French metropolitan population (60.7 million in 2005). Maghrebis have settled mainly in the industrial regions in France, especially in the Paris region. Many famous French people like Edith Piaf, Isabelle Adjani, Arnaud Montebourg, Alain Bashung, Dany Boon and many others have varying degrees of Maghrebi ancestry.

Below is a table of population of Maghrebi origin in France, numbers are in thousands:

Country 1999 2005 % 1999/2005 % French population (60.7 million in 2005)
Algeria 1,577 1,865 +18.3% 3.1%
Immigrants 574 679
Born in France 1,003 1,186
Morocco 1,005 1,201 +19.5% 2.0%
Immigrants 523 625
Born in France 482 576
Tunisia 417 458 +9.8% 0.8%
Immigrants 202 222
Born in France 215 236
Total Maghreb 2,999 3,524 +17.5% 5.8%
Immigrants 1 299 1 526 2.5%
Born in France 1 700 1 998 3.3%

In 2005, the percentage of young people under 18 of Maghrebi origin (at least one immigrant parent) was about 7% in Metropolitan France, 12% in Greater Paris and above 20% in French département of Seine-Saint-Denis.

% in 2005 Seine-Saint-Denis Val-de-Marne Val-d’Oise Lyon Paris France
Total Maghreb 22.0% 13.2% 13.0% 13.0% 12.1% 6.9%

In 2008, the French national institute of statistics, INSEE, estimated that 11.8 million foreign-born immigrants and their direct descendants (born in France) lived in France representing 19% of the country’s population. About 4 million of them are of Maghrebi origin.

According to some non-scientific sources between 5 and 6 million people of Maghrebin origin live in France corresponding to about 7–9% of the total French metropolitan population.

Religious practices
The great majority of Muslims practice their religion in the French framework of laïcité as religious code of conduct must not infringe the public area. According to the study 39% pray (salat) five times, and most observe the fast of Ramadan (70%) and most do not eat pork while many do not drink wine. Rachel Brown shows that some Muslims in France alter some of these religious practices, particularly food practices, as a means of showing “integration” into French culture. According to expert Franck Fregosi: “Although fasting during Ramadan is the most popular practice, it ranks more as a sign of Muslim identity than piety, and it is more a sign of belonging to a culture and a community”,and he added that not drinking alcohol “seems to be more a cultural behaviour”.

Some Muslims (the UOIF for example) request the recognition of an Islamic community in France (which remains to be built) with an official status.

Two main organizations are recognized by the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM): the “Federation of the French Muslims” (Fédération des musulmans de France) with a majority of Moroccan leaders, and the controversial “Union of Islamic Organisations of France” (Union des organizations islamiques de France) (UOIF). In 2008, there were about 2,125 Muslim places of worship in France.

 

Education
Since publicly funded State schools in France must be secular, owing to the 1905 separation of Church and State, Muslim parents who wish their children to be educated at a religious school often choose private (and therefore fee-paying, though heavily subsidized) Catholic schools, of which there are many. Few specifically Muslim schools have been created. There is a Muslim school in La Réunion (a French island to the east of Madagascar), and the first Muslim collège (a school for students aged eleven to fifteen) opened its doors in 2001 in Aubervilliers (a suburb northeast of Paris), with eleven students. Unlike most private schools in the United States and the UK, these religious schools are affordable for most parents since they may be heavily subsidized by the government (teachers’ wages in particular are covered by the State).

Radicalization

In November 2015 in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, French authorities for the first time closed three mosques with extremist activities and radicalization being given as the reason. The mosques were located in Lagny-sur-Marne, Lyon and Gennevilliers Muslim community leaders widely condemned the Paris attacks in public statements and expressed their support for the French government’s attempts to oppose islamist extremism.

The deadly attacks in 2015 in France changed the character of Islamist radicalization from a security threat to constitute a societal problem. Prime minister François Hollande and prime minister Manuel Valls saw the fundamental values of the French republic being challenged and called them attacks against fundamental secular, enlightenment and democratic values along with “what makes us who we are”.

In 2016, French authorities reported that 120 of the 2,500 Islamic prayer halls were disseminating salafist ideas and 20 mosques were closed due to findings of hate speech. In 2016, French authorities stated that 15000 of the 20000 individuals on the list of security threats belong to islamist movements.

In 2018, EU anti-terror coordinator Gilles de Kerchove estimated there to be 17,000 radicalized Muslims and jihadists living in France.

In 2018, French intelligence services monitored around 11,000 individuals with suspected ties to radical Islamism. France has sentenced a large number of individuals for terrorist-related offenses which has increased the prison population.] This in turn has created an issue with radicalization in French prisons.

In February 2019, authorities in Grenoble closed the Al-Kawthar mosque for six months due to it propagating a “radical islamist ideology”. The Al-Kawthar mosque had about 400 regular visitors. In several of the sermons, the imam legitimized armed jihad, violence and hatred towards followers of other religions anti-republican values and promoted Sharia law.

In November 2019, French authorities closed cafés, schools and mosques in about 15 neighborhood due to them disseminating political islam and communitarianist ideas.

In October 2020, President Emmanuel Macron announced a crackdown on “Islamist separatism” in Muslim communities in France, saying a bill with this objective would be sent to parliament in “early 2021.” Among the measures, would be a ban on foreign imams, restrictions on home schooling, and the creation of an “Institute of Islamology” to tackle Islamic fundamentalism.His government introduced a bill that would punish with jail terms and fines any doctor who provides virginity certificates for traditional, religious marriages. ANCIC stated it supported the government’s stand against “virginity tests”, but warned that in some cases women were in “real danger” and “a ban would simply deny the existence of such community practices, without making them disappear”. The association suggested that the issue be “tackled quite differently, so that women and men free themselves and reject the weight of [such] traditions.”

Integration

Accepted French citizens

Several studies have concluded that France is the European country where Muslims integrate the best and feel the most for their country, and that French Muslims have the most positive opinions about their fellow citizens of different faiths. A 2006 study from the Pew Research Center on Integration is one such study. In Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region where French Muslims tend to be more educated and religious, the vast majority rejects violence and say they are loyal to France according to studies by Euro-Islam, a comparative research network on Islam and Muslims in the West sponsored by GSRL Paris/ CNRS France and Harvard University. On the other hand, a 2013 IPSOS survey published by the French daily Le Monde, indicated that only 26% of French respondents believed that Islam was compatible with French society (compared to 89% identifying Catholicism as compatible and 75% identifying Judaism as compatible). A 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center in Spring 2014 revealed that out of all Europeans, the French view Muslim minorities most favorably with 72% having a favorable opinion.Other research has shown how these positive attitudes are not always reflected in popular opinion and the subject of Muslim integration in France is much more nuanced and complex.

In April 2018 an Algerian Muslim woman refused to shake hands with the official on religious grounds. As an applicant must demonstrate being integrated into society as well as respect for French values, officials considered her not integrated and denied her citizenship application.

Religiosity
According to a poll by Institut français d’opinion publique in 2020, 40% of Muslims gave the view that their religious beliefs were more important than the values of the French republic, more than twice the fraction of the French public (17%). Among Muslims under 25 years of age a large majority (74%) considered their religion more important than French values.

Discrimination
In 2010, a study entitled Are French Muslims Discriminated Against in Their Own Country? found that “Muslims sending out resumes in hopes of a job interview had 2.5 times less chance than Christians” with similar credentials “of a positive response to their applications”.

Other examples of discrimination against Muslims include the desecration of 148 French Muslim graves near Arras. A pig’s head was hung from a headstone and profanities insulting Islam and Muslims were daubed on some graves.Destruction and vandalism of Muslim graves in France were seen as Islamophobic by a report of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. A number of mosques have also been vandalized in France over the years. On 14 January 2015 it was reported that 26 mosques in France had been subject to attack since the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris.

On 29 June 2017, a man who suffered from schizophrenia attempted to ram his vehicle into a crowd of worshipers exiting a mosque in Créteil, a suburb of Paris, though no one was injured. Le Parisien claims the suspect, of Armenian origin, wanted to “avenge the Bataclan and Champs-Elysées” attacks.

In 2019, The French Institute for Public Research (IFOP) conducted the study from August 29 to September 18, based on a sample of 1007 Muslims aged 15 and above. According to the study, 40% of Muslims in France felt that they were discriminated against. More than a third of these instances were recorded in the past five years, suggesting an increase in the overall mistreatment of Muslims in France over recent years. The survey found that 60% of women wearing a headscarf were subject to discrimination. 37% of Muslims in France have been a victim to verbal harassment or defamatory insults. The study, however, revealed that 44% of Muslim women who do not wear headscarves found themselves being a victim to verbal harassment or defamatory insults. The survey found that 13% of incidents of religious discrimination happened at police control points and 17% happened at job interviews. 14% of incidents occurred while the victims were looking to rent or buy accommodation. The IFOP stated that 24% of Muslims were exposed to verbal aggression during their lifetime, compared to 9% among non-MuslimsIn addition, 7% of Muslims were physically attacked, compared to 3% of non-Muslims.

Public opinion
A February 2017 poll of 10 000 people in 10 European countries by Chatham House found on average a majority (55%) were opposed to further Muslim immigration, with opposition especially pronounced in Austria, Poland, Hungary, France and Belgium. Except for Poland, all of those had recently suffered jihadist terror attacks or been at the center of a refugee crisis.A Survey published in 2019 by the Pew Research Center found that 72% of French respondents had a favorable view of Muslims in their country, whereas 22% had an unfavourable view.

Repercussions
The 2005 French riots have been controversially interpreted as an illustration of the difficulty of integrating Muslims in France, and smaller scale riots have been occurring throughout the 1980s and 1990s, first in Vaulx-en-Velin in 1979, and in Vénissieux in 1981, 1983, 1990 and 1999.

Furthermore, although Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy claimed that most rioters were immigrants and already known to the police, the majority were, in fact, previously unknown to the police.

In 2014, an analysis by The Washington Post showed that between 60-70% of the prison population in France are Muslim or come from Muslim backgrounds while Muslims constitute 12% of the population of France.The claims in this article have been refuted: the headline figure was based on research in 4 Paris and north regions prisons out of a total 188 by Professor Farhad Khosrovkhavar later said his best estimate was 40-50%, but that data is not recorded by French authorities. Statistics on ethnicity and religion are banned in France. In 2013, 18,300 (27%) of the 67,700 French prison population registered for Ramadan, an indication of their religious affiliation

Hijab
Further information: French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools and Islamic scarf controversy in France
The wearing of hijab in France has been a very controversial issue since 1989. The debate essentially concerns whether Muslim girls who choose to wear hijab may do so in state schools. A secondary issue is how to protect the free choice and other rights of young Muslim women who do not want the veil, but who may face strong pressure from families or traditionalists. Similar issues exist for civil servants and for acceptance of male Muslim medics in medical services.

In 1994, the French Ministry for Education sent out recommendations to teachers and headmasters to ban Islamic veil in educational institutions. According to a 2019 study by the Institute of Labor Economics, more girls with a Muslim background born after 1980 graduated from high school after the 1994 restrictions were introduced. While secularism is often criticized for restricting freedom of religion, the study suggested that “public schools ended up promoting the educational empowerment of some of the most disadvantaged groups of female students”.

Leila Babes in her book “The Veil Demystified”, believe that wearing the veil does not derive from a Muslim religious imperative.

The French government, and a large majority of public opinion are opposed to the wearing of a “conspicuous” sign of religious expression (dress or symbol), whatever the religion, as this is incompatible with the French system of laïcité. In December 2003, President Jacques Chirac said that it breaches the separation of church and state and would increase tensions in France’s multicultural society, whose Muslim and Jewish populations are both the biggest of their kind in Western Europe.

The issue of Muslim hijabs has sparked controversy after several girls refused to uncover their heads in class, as early as 1989. In October 1989, three Muslim schoolgirls wearing the Islamic headscarf were expelled from the collège Gabriel-Havez in Creil (north of Paris). In November, the First Conseil d’État ruling affirmed that the wearing of the Islamic headscarf, as a symbol of freedom of religious expression, in public schools was not incompatible with the French school system and the system of laïcité. In December, a first ministerial circular (circulaire Jospin) was published, stating teachers had to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to ban the wearing of Islamic headscarf.

In January 1990, three schoolgirls were expelled from the collège Pasteur in Noyon, north of Paris. The parents of one expelled schoolgirl filed a defamation action against the principal of the collège Gabriel-Havez in Creil. As a result, the teachers of a collège in Nantua (eastern part of France, just to the west of Geneva, Switzerland) went on strike to protest the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in school. A second ministerial circular was published in October, to restate the need to respect the principle of laïcité in public schools.

In September 1994, a third ministerial circular (circulaire Bayrou) was published, making a distinction between “discreet” symbols to be tolerated in public schools, and “ostentatious” symbols, including the Islamic headscarf, to be banned from public schools. In October, some students demonstrated at the lycée Saint Exupéry in Mantes-la-Jolie (northwest of Paris) to support the freedom to wear Islamic headscarves in school. In November, approximately twenty-four veiled schoolgirls were expelled from the lycée Saint Exupéry in Mantes-la-Jolie and the lycée Faidherbe in Lille.

In December 2003, President Chirac decided that the law should prohibit the wearing of visible religious signs in schools, according to laïcité requirements. The law was approved by parliament in March 2004. Items prohibited by this law include Muslim hijabs, Jewish yarmulkes or large Christian crosses.It is still permissible to wear discreet symbols of faith such as small crosses, Stars of David or Fatima’s hands.

Two French journalists working in Iraq, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot were taken hostage by the “Islamic Army in Iraq” (an Iraqi resistance militant movement) under accusations of spying. Threats to kill the two journalists if the law on headscarves was not revoked were published on the Internet by groups claiming to be the “Islamic Army in Iraq”. The two journalists were later released unharmed

The arguments have resurfaced when, on 22 June 2009, at the Congrès de Versailles, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that the Islamic burqa is not welcome in France, claiming that the full-length, body-covering gown was a symbol of subservience that suppresses women’s identities and turns them into “prisoners behind a screen.” A parliamentary commission of thirty-two deputies and led by André Gerin (PCF), was also formed to study the possibility of banning the public wearing of the burqa or niqab.] There is suspicion, however, that Sarkozy is “playing politics in a time of economic unhappiness and social anxiety.”

A Muslim group spokesman expressed serious concern over the proposed legislation, noting that “even if they ban the burqa, it will not stop there,” adding that “there is a permanent demand for legislating against Muslims. This could go really bad, and I’m scared of it. I feel like they’re turning the screws on us.”

On 25 January 2010 it was announced that the parliamentary committee, having concluded its study, would recommend that a ban on veils covering the face in public locations such as hospitals and schools be enacted, but not in private buildings or on the street.

In February 2019, Decathlon, Europe’s largest sports retailer, announced plans to begin selling a sports hijab in their stores in France. Decathlon had begun selling the product in Morocco the previous week but the plan was criticised on social media, with several politicians expressing discomfort with the product being sold. Decathlon originally stood firm, arguing it was focused on “democratizing” sports. The company released a statement saying their goal was to “offer them a suitable sports product, without judging.” While Nike had already sold hijabs in France, Decathlon was met with much more scrutiny. Multiple salespeople were threatened physically in stores. The company also received hundreds of calls and emails in regards to the product. Decathlon was forced to backtrack and has since halted their plans to sell the sports hijab. Many throughout France were left disappointed with one Muslim entrepreneur stating, “it’s a shame that Decathlon didn’t stand firm.”

Politics

Formal as well as informal Muslim organizations help the new French citizens to integrate. There are no Islam-based political parties, but a number of cultural organizations. Their most frequent activities are homework help and language classes in Arabic, ping pong, Muslim discussion groups etc. are also common. However, most important associations active in assisting with the immigration process are either secular (GISTI, for example) or ecumenist (such as the protestant-founded Cimade).

The most important national institution is the CFCM (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman) this institution was designed on the model of the “Consistoire Juif de France” and of the “Fédération protestante de France” both Napoleonic creation. The aim of the CFCM (like its Jewish and protestant counterparts) is to discuss religious problem with the state, participate in certain public institutions, and organize the religious life of French Muslims. The CFCM is elected by the French Muslims through local election. It is the only official instance of the French Muslims.

There were four organizations represented in the CFCM elected in 2003, GMP (Grande mosquée de Paris), UOIF (Union des organizations islamiques de France), FNMF (Fédération nationale des musulmans de France) CCMTF (Comité de coordination des musulmans turcs de France). In 2008 a new council was elected. The winner was RMF (Rassemblement des musulmans de France) with a large majority of the votes, followed by the UOIF and the CCMTF. It is a very broad and young organization and there is a beginning of consensus on major issues. Other elections took place since then, the latest was due in 2019 but is still pending.

Other organizations exist, such as PCM (Muslim Participation and Spirituality), which combine political mobilization (against racism, sexism etc.) and spiritual meetings, and put emphasis on the need to get involved in French society – by joining organizations, registering to vote, working with your children’s schools etc. They do not have clear-cut political positions as such, but push for active citizenship. They are vaguely on the left in practice.

The government has yet to formulate an official policy towards making integration easier. As mentioned above, it is difficult to determine in France who may be called a Muslim. Some Muslims in France describe themselves as “non-practicing”. Most simply observe Ramadan and other basic rules, but are otherwise secular.

Controversies

A 2005 French study showed that anti-Jewish prejudice was more prevalent among religious Muslims than among non-religious ones; 46% expressed anti-Semitic sentiments compared to 30% of non-practising Muslims in France. Only 28% of the religious Muslims were found to be totally without such prejudice. The few studies available which had been conducted among the Muslim youth in various western European countries showed some similar outcomes. A 2011 study of elementary school children in on Dutch-language schools in Brussels by a Belgian sociologist showed that about 50 percent of Muslim students in second and third grade could be considered anti-Semites, versus 10% of others. Also in 2011, Gunther Jikeli published findings from 117 interviews with 19-year-old Muslim youths in Berlin, Paris and London, the majority of whom voiced antisemitic feelings.

Participants in the antisemitic riots outside the Israeli embassy in 2009 were said to be mainly Muslim youth,supported by left-wing autonomous Blitz activists.

Terrorists have been involved in some violent attacks on Jews. In 2012 in Toulouse, armed terrorist Mohammed Merah, the child of Muslim parents from Algeria,[ murdered four Jews. Merah had previously targeted French army soldiers. A brother of the shooter, Abdelghani Merah, said he and his siblings had been brought up on anti-Semitic views espoused by their parents.

Notable French Muslims

Main category: French Muslims
Mohed Altrad, businessman, rugby chairman and writer.
Fadela Amara, social worker, former government minister
Nicolas Anelka, football player, convert
Rachid Arhab, journalist, member of Conseil supérieur de 
Kader Arif, politician, former government minister and current member of the European Parliament
Azouz Begag, Légion d’Honneur recipient, researcher in economics and sociology, former government minister
Hatem Ben Arfa, football player
Rama Yade, politician, former government minister, married to Jewish high civil servant Joseph Zimet
Djaziri Adam Lotfi, terrorist
Si Kaddour Benghabrit, founder of the Great Mosque of Paris, WW2 resistant, interfaith helper and candidate to official title of Righteous among the Nations.
Leïla Bekhti, Awards-winning film & television actress, L’Oréal ambassador
Tahar Rahim, multiple César Award-winning actor.
Ghaleb Bencheikh, scientist
Karim Benzema, football player
Dalil Boubakeur, physician
Wissam Ben Yedder, football player
Mourad Boudjellal, businessman, president of RC Toulon rugby club
Rachida Brakni, Awards-winning actress, Comédie française member, wife of Éric Cantona
Maurice Bucaille, physician and Egyptologist
Redouane Lakdim, terrorist
Louis du Couret, explorer, military officer, and writer
Rachida Dati, lawyer, former Minister of Justice
N’Golo Kante , football player
Jamel Debbouze, Awards-winning actor and stand-up comedian, producer, philanthropist, husband of TV journalist and producer Mélissa Theuriau
Nasreddine Dinet, painter
Houssem Aouar, football player
Frantz Fanon, philosopher, psychiatrist, writer
Nabil Fekir, football player
René Guénon, author and intellectual
Mohamed Haouas, international rugby player
Mounir Mahjoubi, technologist, businessman, current Secretary of State for Digital Affairs (came out as gay in 2018).
Nagui, long-standing TV and radio presenter and producer, Number 1 French TV host in 2010
Samir Nasri, football player
Paul Pogba, football player, Convert
Adil Rami, football player
Franck Ribéry, football player. (convert)
Hamou Benlatrèche, terrorist
Mamadou Sakho, football player
Moussa Sissoko, football player
Rabah Slimani, rugby player (both loose head and tight head prop) for Stade français and in the French national rugby union team, highest paid French player[98]
Zinedine Zidane, football player
Omar Sy, Award-winning actor
Ousmane Dembele, football player
Benjamin Mendy, football player
Bacary Sagna, football player
Djibril Sidibe, football player
Bilal Hassani, singer

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