Can France Integrate The Muslim Population? Researchers Find Pessimistic Data

Politics - March 1, 2024

With the slow but steady-growing skepticism of liberals and socialists towards open border policies, new researches and studies are coming out and underlining the strong negative impact that such migration policies brought along. If during the peak of the latest migration wave (that started in 2015) the publication of such studies was close to taboo, nowadays we can witness a relative liberalization on information and a higher access for the native populations of different EU states to statistics about the newly-arrived or second generation Muslims living in their societies.

Le Journal du Dimanche (viewed by the French as a rather non-biased and official publication), later quoted by the Gatestone Institute published one of the most comprehensive and detailed studies on this topic to date, releasing it at the end of January 2024. And even though the results did not have a viral spread on social media or in the global press, the analysts who have looked into them categorize them as rather “disturbing”. The aforementioned study is not conducted only on the newly arrived migrants to France, but rather on the Muslim population of the republic as a whole. So in order to fully understand the situation, one would need some prior information about how France’s Muslim population has become so numerous.

How did France become “home” to nearly 6 million Muslims?

Historically, Muslim presence in France dates back to the colonial era, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries when France had colonies in North Africa, notably Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. These colonial ties facilitated significant migration flows from these regions to France, with many individuals and families relocating for economic opportunities, education, and to escape political instability in their home countries. The migration of Muslims from former colonies to France was further intensified by labor demands during the post-World War II period, when France experienced a shortage of manpower for its reconstruction efforts.

Furthermore, geopolitical events and conflicts in the Muslim world have also influenced migration patterns to France. Wars, political repression, and economic instability in countries such as Algeria, Syria, and Iraq have compelled individuals and families to seek refuge in France, contributing to the growth of the Muslim population through asylum and refugee resettlement programs. The exact number of arrivals due to repression is unknown, as it is very hard to separate from the economic migrants that have reached the territory of France. Many migrants from Muslim-majority countries were drawn to France by the promise of economic opportunities, social security benefits and a better standard of living. However, the socioeconomic integration of these people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, has posed serious challenges so far.

Are Muslims integrating?

The findings of the survey (mentioned at the beginning of the article) regarding the attitudes of French Muslims towards Catholics, churches, and the concept of France are undoubtedly concerning and warrant careful consideration on how to proceed in matters of policy.

One of the most shocking sociological findings is that 49% of French Muslims want Catholics to convert to Islam in order to feel integrated. This suggests a significant level of religious tension or a desire for religious dominance among a significant number of individuals within the Muslim community. Such an astounding number can even raise the question “will integration ever be possible?”. The tried and tested method of assimilation and cultural homogenization has always been the other way around – the new arrival adapts to the culture of the place in which he has arrived. To wish for the “host” place to change its culture and tradition is clearly an audacious (and borderline hostile) approach.

Similarly, the statistic indicating that 36% of French Muslims want churches to be transformed into mosques raises questions about religious tolerance and coexistence in France. While it may reflect a desire for increased visibility and accessibility of Islamic places of worship, it also highlights the aforementioned need for domination. This is especially problematic due to the secular history and tradition of France. Another worrisome figure in this regard showed that 42% of French Muslims place respect for Islamic Sharia law above respect for the laws of the French republic (the percentage is up to 57% among young Muslims aged 18 – 25).

The revelation that 25% of French Muslims reject the word “France” is particularly poignant. It suggests a sense of alienation or disconnection from the national identity which only strengthens the concerns that a very significant percentage will never be able to integrate, no matter the approach chosen by the authorities in Paris or in local communities. Even from a Muslim perspective, living in a country you do not identify with at all can be an element of frustration and a factor towards your own self-imposed segregation.

What is even more shocking about this statistics is that the government and numerous NGO’s have invested significant resources in the assimilation process. The programs for addressing issues of religious tension, social exclusion, and identity have been abundant, as was the effort of policymakers, community leaders, and individuals alike to build a more inclusive and cohesive society.

The animosity of the Muslims in France is not only directed towards Frenchmen and women, however.  According to the survey results, 17% of Muslims residing in France acknowledge harboring feelings of “hatred” towards Jews. Additionally, 39% express negative perceptions of Judaism, rating their opinions as either poor or very poor.

Concerning Israel, the findings are particularly alarming. 45% of French Muslims express a desire for the complete eradication of Israel. Additionally, an equivalent proportion of French Muslims characterize the violent events perpetrated by Hamas terrorists in Israel on October 7, 2023—comprising acts such as massacres, rape, torture, beheadings, and burnings—as “acts of resistance”.

Criminality: a major issue

The study also looks at certain aspects of criminality related to the large Muslim population that resides in France. While it is true that large waves of migration generally create a spike of criminality increase at their beginning, things in France appear to have gotten only worse with time, shows the data. Every day in France, over 120 incidents involving knife attacks occur. The majority of these assaults are carried out by individuals of Muslim descent who subsequently cite their disdain for non-believers and France to law enforcement. While fatal knife attacks garner media attention, numerous others go unreported. Across major urban centers, instances of muggings and physical assaults have become increasingly frequent. Additionally, France witnesses more than two hundred cases of rape daily, with a significant portion attributed to Muslim men who entered the country without proper documentation. This holds similarities to Sweden, where the national television station has documented that 58% of trialed and convicted rapists are foreign-born.

In France, more than 70% of the convicted inmates are of Muslim descent and the reasons are so visible that even left-leaning organizations have stopped using the rhetoric that this could be a product of “systemic racism”.  Alarmingly, only a small fraction (7%) of illegal immigrants who are convicted are instructed to depart France or face actual deportation.

Returning to the topic of anti-Semitism, it has been noted that since the tragic abduction, torture, and killing of Ilan Halimi in January 2006, all instances of Jews murdered in France have been perpetrated by individuals of Muslim faith. Sammy Ghozlan, serving as the president of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), an organization dedicated to documenting anti-Semitic incidents and supporting victims, has consistently underscored for over two decades that nearly all cases of violent anti-Semitism in France are carried out by individuals identifying as Muslims.