The Dangerous Marginalization Of France’s Muslims

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 16 2015 @ 12:08pm

M.G. Oprea spells out why changing France’s immigration policy won’t prevent future attacks:

The truth is, the men who launched these attacks in the name of Islam were French citizens. They were born and educated in France. They didn’t recently immigrate, and they didn’t import terrorism from a foreign land where they were raised. They were radicalized at home, in France. This is why cutting off immigration from North Africa, where most of France’s Muslim population comes from, or other Muslim countries, will not change the strained state of affairs in France among its citizens, or insulate them from further terrorist attacks.

She declares that “the French Muslim men who join radical Islamist movements often do so in the context of growing up in a country that has never wanted them”:

France has made a series of dangerous mistakes that immigration reform can’t fix. They have alienated a community of Muslims five million strong, and the youths in this community are doubling down on their Muslim identity. Because radical Islam considers itself at war with the West, it appeals to young people who want to reject the Western culture and society they feel has rejected them. So they turn to a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, often finding their inspiration in prisons, where Arab youths are frequently radicalized.

recent study found that large numbers of Europe’s Muslims are fundamentalist:

For Ruud Koopmans, sole author of a study published in early January in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and director of the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre (Germany), religious fundamentalism is defined in three ways: that believers should return to the eternal and unchangeable rules laid down in the past; that these rules only allow one interpretation and are binding for all believers; and that religious rules should have priority over secular laws.

He found that “between 40% and 45% of European Muslims have fundamentalist religious ideas, that is they agree with the three definitions of the term”:

The results show that if first and second generations are considered and if each definition is taken independently, almost 60% would return to the roots of Islam, 75% think there is only one interpretation of the Koran possible to which every Muslim should stick, and 65% say that religious rules are more important to them than the rules of the country in which they live. “However in second generation Muslims the levels are slightly lower (between 50% and 70%),” states the expert.

Justin Gest fears that, after these attacks, “French Muslims — particularly their inclusion in French society — may not recover”:

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Western countries have enacted policies that prioritize counterterrorism and populism at the expense of social cohesion. Governments have implemented search and surveillance practices that target people based on their appearance or names; exceptional rules that alter detention standards for those held on charges pressed predominantly against certain minorities; citizenship criteria that discriminate against residents of certain origins or faiths; and cultural policies that prohibit certain religious practices and traditions but not others.

Critics have shown how such actions fail to secure societies. Far more worryingly, my research shows that such actions amplify a much greater threat for Western Muslims: their political withdrawal.