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After Catholic Christianity, Islam has the second biggest number of adherents. France has the highest number of Muslims in Western Europe, owing to considerable immigration from Middle Eastern and North African countries. In France, there has been substantial opposition to Muslim immigration. The Muslim community is extraordinarily cohesive, making integration into the far less cohesive French community problematic. Integration of persons from a different and deeply religious culture is extremely difficult, if not impossible (Muslim). Instead than demanding that Muslim immigrants assimilate, French politicians should provide opportunities for integration. The cultural differences facilitated the ban of wearing of hijab headscarf in school and public institutions. Muslim integration has failed as state policies do not support multiculturalism.
The discrimination of Muslims in schools and job recruitments has increased the poverty levels among the population as the government has failed to implement policies that will ensure the provision of equal job opportunities (Rathelot, & Safi, 2014). Considering that Muslims have become more involved in French politics, they are likely to fight for same treatment among the locals. There a state of unrest in France which is attributed to failed social and policing policy. The Muslim has refused to integrate as they argue that conforming to French values makes them less Muslims. The failure of racial and ethnic integration has triggered increased Islamic associations in France which are focused at "re-Islamizing" Muslim communities.
The Present Situation of the Muslim Immigrants and Refugees Communities in France
France has registered the largest number of Muslim immigrants which represents one-eighth of the total population. Due to the move by neighboring states to bun their movement. Donald Trump and a majority of republicans have been on the front line to fight Muslim immigration due to their suspected involvement in terrorist attacks. French politicians are forcing integration by demanding that Muslim and other immigrants drop off their culture and identities and adopt French culture and way of living. From the survey poll conducted in 2012 on Muslim immigrants and refugees in France, the majority of them show interest in learning the native language, as well as civic and political participation but not willing to lose their identities and cultural values (Lagrange, & Matthews, 2014). The lack of integration is Muslim immigrants and refugees in France are indicated by the presence of the 717 ‘sensitive zones' which are characterized by high rate of unemployment, high poverty levels. The highest population of those living in those zones is foreigners.
Muslim immigrants and refugees carry with them their cultural values and norms and find it difficult integrates with the local society due to differing beliefs and attitudes. They have entirely different mindsets towards the law they do not follow the rules. Also, the immigrants, despite the being presented with an opportunity to behave like the rest of the society, they still go ahead to live off of welfare as well trespass the law. They always prefer residing in slums and are highly associated with the crime which makes it difficult to integrate. The failure to integrate has further been contributed by Muslim drive to sustain their culture. France state policies should take into consideration existence of Muslim community. Muslim immigrants do not like integrating with the rest of the society, but they want France communities to integrate into Islamic. Majority of the Muslim immigrants continue to practice their religion, fasting during Ramadan and not eating pork or drinking wine. In 2015, there were radicalization and extreme activities whereby three mosques were closed by France authorities. Muslim immigrants and other refugee communities are highly discriminated and treated unfairly by the France authorities which have resulted in rioting, terrorism, and radicalization (Adida, Laitin, & Valfort, 2016).
Development of Muslim Ghettos and Historical Background of Muslim Immigrants
France has the highest number of Muslim immigrate who came from North Africa and Middle Eastern countries. Majority of them belong to Sunni denomination. The most Muslim populated region in France is oversee region of Mayotte. After the Muslim conquest in Spain and occupancy of Spain by moors, the majority of Muslim forces moved into southern France. In the 9th century, Muslim forces acquired various parts of Southern France. The immigration of Muslim to France was also triggered by the expansion of sea trade during the colonial era of independence.
During the winter of 1543-1544, Christians were drawn out, and their worshiping place (Toulon Cathedral) was converted into a mosque. Afterwards, France acquired back the city from the control of Muslims. The highest rate of Muslim immigration in France was experienced between the 1960s and 1970s. The first generation of Muslim immigrates were males who came to France to provide labor. In 1976, the immigrants settled permanently in France as the government passed a law which allowed them to settle with their children and wives (Pan Ké Shon, Verdugo, & Jacobs, 2014). Majority of them applied for French nationality before they could achieve the retirement age. The second generation Muslims immigrates were born in France, and their obtaining of French nationality was delayed due to the 1992 reform of nationality laws. These Muslims resides outside large cities in France.
Muslim ghettos have largely developed in France, as they are areas in big cities that are ‘no-go zones' for non-Muslims and police. The development of Muslim ghettos is attributed to the selective application of the law and moral cowardice of France and Britain leaders. The ghettos have further developed as a result of poor policies where proper scrutiny of immigrates is not performed and political leaders and police failure to confront tough issues. The acceptance and application of Sharia law in France have contributed to the development of Muslim ghettos.
The Cultural Differences between the French Society and Muslim Populations and their Impact
The tremendous growth in Muslim populations in French has increased speculations due to the ambitious nature of Muslim leaders and enhancement of their rights in French politics. Muslims, unlike the French society, does not take pork nor drink wine as it is against their beliefs. One of the cultural practices by Muslims includes wearing of beards and veils. On the other hand, the French society does not practice wearing of beards and veils, and there was a debated on the ban of veils to uphold French values of equity and universalism. Another cultural difference is that French society believes in equality between sexes as well as separation of religion and the state, while the Muslim populations disagree with these values. French society has a secular culture which is against the Muslim beliefs and norms.
The cultural difference resulted in banning of the public face covering which included the Muslim face-veil. There was also an attempt to ban the burkini- Muslim women attire that covers the whole body apart from the feet, hands, and the feet. The cultural difference further resulted in the launch of Charter for security in school which was focused on keeping religion out of school, but the government authority insisted that it was a unifying act. Instead of uniting the French society and the Muslim community, the acts of ban of the veil and secularization made Muslims feel stigmatized and discriminated (Pan Ké Shon, Verdugo, & Jacobs, 2014). The cultural differences facilitated the ban of wearing of hijab headscarf in school and public institutions.
The cultural differences have influenced the government to treat the Muslim communities harshly and unfairly by being legally biased against them, being against their places of worship, and also opposing their mode of dressing. The legal biases started back in 1971 when French authorities closed the borders and put in place a very long bureaucratic procedure to be followed which make it difficult for immigrants to enter France. In 1986, there was forced deportation of immigrants which resulted in violence and increased terrorism that targeted French citizens. The French authorities attempted to close down and stopped construction of mosques regarding them as places of indulgence of Islamist militants. The government went further to ban "ostentatious signs" which is one of the religious beliefs.
The French authorities have failed to integrate Muslims as the cultural differences have seen varying treatment of the natives and the immigrants and the existence of the right to be different. The assimilations attitude of France towards the Muslim and the drive to force them to learn and conform to French values has triggered lack of integration. The cultural differences have seen the French government treat the Muslims harshly through racial discrimination, and lack of provision of job opportunities. The French government has confessed that they discriminate the foreigners as they view their culture as a threat to the French identity and civilization. The cultural differences have stimulated a rise in poverty levels among the Muslim immigrants as they government instead of creating job opportunities for the young youths they fund the police to fight terrorism and violence aiming at Muslims living in the suburbs (Hainmueller, & Hopkins, 2015). The government further restricted marriage of immigrates to French citizens.
Reaction of Muslim Immigrants Populations on their Treatment by French Society and Government and the Impact
Majority of Muslim pronounces their disappointment in France society and government due to the discrimination they face because of their religion. The Muslim populations from North America react to their poor integration into French culture. Muslim community does not trust France public institutions such as schools, police, national employment, and the immigration services as they feel treated unfairly and unequally by these institutions. Studies indicate that Muslims are also discriminated during job applications because they are expected to assimilate less thereby affecting the unity of the company; they, therefore end up low paying jobs with less favorable jobs (Pan Ké Shon, Verdugo, & Jacobs, 2014). In Immigrant-descended children perform poorly mainly because they are discriminated as teacher focus on their ethnic behaviors as opposed to the academic ability.
The Muslim fight against discrimination has fueled terrorism and violence in France. The high discrimination and poverty levels among the Muslim immigrants in France is attributed to the violent behavior against the French societies. Muslim immigrants have been rioting to send a message to the French government and societies that they are not terrorists and they are thought to be. The radicalization of some portions of Muslim population has been attributed to increased bombing by terrorists who are associated with Islamic religion. The discrimination, Muslim extremism and unfair treatment of Muslims in France have resulted in radicalization where Europe's Muslim youth continue to be recruited to the radicalism (Lagrange, & Matthews, 2014). The continued socio-economic deprivation continues to trigger radicalization in France due to increased generation of feelings of alienation.
Research indicates that there has been increased riots by Muslim immigrates in France who are mostly youth who are aggrieved by the countless cases of discrimination such as police brutality. The youths are incited by the local and global imams. The reaction by the Muslims is attributed to pervasive drug trafficking and vandalism. The misguided government policies are discriminatory and have lead to hopelessness and extreme alienation of Muslims thus resulting in radicalization. It is perpetuating the situation as more Muslim youths are willing to volunteer to fight in other regions. The development of poverty among the Muslim immigrants has been attributed to the high rate of unemployment among the Muslims and the lowest economic ranks they occupy in French. The development of ghettos has further deprived off Muslim immigrates opportunities for equal education opportunities as most of them are school dropout, which has contributed to high poverty levels (Adida, Laitin, & Valfort, 2016). Unemployment and poverty have increased radicalization in mosques. Muslims have regularly been provoked by the discriminatory acts of the French government which has lead to retaliatory actions by Muslim which has set the ground for violence and terrorism, thereby worsening the situation. The policies and laws that are against the Muslim practice of their religion have made them more receptive to radical ideas.
In conclusion, the failure of integration of Muslims in French is likely to have more negative effects than the current situation. Therefore, the French government needs to take up appropriate steps to integrate the Muslims and curb the discrimination against this religion. Muslim should be appreciated and treated with dignity like other ethnic and religious groups, this by being allowed to practice their culture freely. Fostering multiculturalism in France is likely to solve the severe socio-economic deprivation that gives rise to poor housing, unemployment, and declining health among the Muslim populations. There is a need for French to adopt equal political representations as well as capacity building and professionalism among the minority religious group. The actions will trigger positive outcomes in France such as reduction in terrorism, stability, increased standards of living and economic development. The French government should formulate integrative policies that will prevent violent extremism thereby stimulating communities' development and unity. Political leaders have a role to play in preventing political radicalism.
Muslims should be treated equally as the other religions and locals by being allowed to engage and participate in French society actively. France should focus on providing equal opportunities and outcomes as well as push for economic equalities through establishment of pillars of social and economic stability. The immediate issues at hand that need to solve in France are discrimination, racism, a significant gap in economic inequalities which will enhance integration in France. The French government should deal with the Muslim ghettos to prevent future problems to future generations.
Adida, C., Laitin, D., & Valfort, M. (2016). “One Muslim is Enough!” Evidence from a Field
Experiment in France. Annals of Economics and Statistics, (121/122), 121-160.
Hainmueller, J., & Hopkins, D. (2015). The Hidden American Immigration Consensus: A
Conjoint Analysis of Attitudes toward Immigrants. American Journal of Political Science, 59(3), 529-548.
Lagrange, H., & Matthews, T. (2014). The Religious Revival among Immigrants and Their
Descendants in France. Revue Française De Sociologie (English Edition), 55(2), 139-178.
Pan Ké Shon, J., Verdugo, G., & Jacobs, A. (2014). Immigrant Segregation and Incorporation in
France: Extent and Intensity from 1968 to 2007. Revue Française De Sociologie (English Edition), 55(2), 179-214.
Rathelot, R., & Safi, M. (2014). Local Ethnic Composition and Natives' and Immigrants'
Geographic Mobility in France, 1982-1999. American Sociological Review, 79(1), 43-64.
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