Venue: IBoM Paper Title: “The Islam Debate in France” by Huma Baqai Abstract Islam is the second most widely practiced religion in France, with an estimated total of 5 to 10 percent of the national population. Muslims comprised an estimated two-thirds (68.5%) of all new immigrants to France in 2010. France is widely seen as the defender of Arab interests in international politics. However the rising numbers and Muslims practices are seen in France with a lot of skepticism. The impact on domestic politics is multidimensional. Many see the rising numbers as a threat to core French values the most prominent being secularism and resulting in France losing its European identity. The challenge is to accommodate Islamic customs with French secular traditions. The political parties in France are bitterly polarized over the role and space for Muslims in the French society. The debate over the ban and fine on Muslim veil (Niqaab / Hijaab) is indicative of France struggling with complicated issues like individual freedom, identity, societal and political space for Muslim immigrants in France. The international political environment and developments in the Middle East have further clouded the issue.
Background Information – Some Facts
Official Language: French
Area: 543,965 km2, with overseas territories 672,352 km2 Population (01/2006): 61 million (62.9 million including overseas territories)
Population density: 112 inhabitants per km2
Population growth (1996-2005): +0.55% per year
Labor force participation rate (2004): 69.5%
Foreign population as a percentage of total (2005): 5.6%
Immigrant population as a percentage of total (2005): 8.1%
Percentage of foreign employees amongst gainfully employed (2004): 5.6%
Unemployment rate: 9.6% (2010); 10% (2004); 9.9% (2003)
Religions: Catholics (62%), Muslims (6%), Protestants (2%), Jews (1%), no Religious affiliation (26%)i
The Muslims in France – An Introduction
The crux of France’s recent issues with the Muslim immigrants is the French societal view that places them outside of French society. Muslim immigrants are largely viewed as non contributors. Islam is the second most widely practiced religion in France by number of worshippers, with an estimated total of five to ten percent of the national population.
Historically, presence of Muslims in France appears briefly in the 8th century when the Moors conquered Spain and pushed northward. The Moors were defeated in 732 by Frankish and Burgundian forces at the Battle of Tours.
Five to six million Muslims live in France today. There is a forecast that the numbers may grow to 6.9 million in 2030. The Islam debate in France, in casual conversations is focused around the issue of Niqaab, Hijaab (for School Girls) ban and the debate about prayers on the streets. France is the first country to enforce a ban against the Niqab, or Muslim face veil and prayers on the streets, other countries are following suit. Islam is a hot button issue in contemporary France. It has become controversial; stands politicized and are a preoccupation with the media. It is regularly picked up by the foreign press and reported upon, generating interest globally. In the new debate and dynamics of world politics, religion has made a dramatic comeback and is a focus of discussion.
Islam in France has also emerged as an important point of domestic political agenda which has several trajectories. Objectively viewed it includes:
The ambiguity of the French immigration policy
The Socio-Economic Dimension
Politicization of the issue
A threat to French cultural identity and core values of secularism and individual freedom.
Muslims in France:
The issue stands politicized because in spite of all the number’s projections of Muslim community that you see in the media. There is a certain objectivity that needs to be maintained. Out of the four to six million Muslims in France only eight hundred thousands are practicing Muslims. The rest are only Ramzan observing, pork and alcohol abstaining Muslims. This makes them 3.8 percent of the total population who practice the Muslim faith. Moreover, only forty-one per cent of the country’s Muslims actually describe themselves as “practicing,” although seventy-five per cent are happy to label themselves “believers.” A pertinent example of this would be wearing of head scarves by Muslim girls at school (in reality a very small minority practice), became a hotly debated political issue in 1989.ii
A rise in the radicalism, which may includes not wanting to study about holocaust, the full face veil (the number of Hijaab wearing girls went down after the ban) are just stigmas of a religion which in its great majority observe its faith peacefully and moderately. The recent panic over the rise of Islamic extremism in Europe has been unable to factor in a key reality, that majority of European Muslims are trying hard for assimilation and not exclusion.
This is especially apparent in France where the picture is for more positive than often acknowledged. Muslims want to fully exist in the French Republic what an over whelming majority is asking for is not to be stigmatized and used as political pawns. The problem of radicalism extremism and jihadism is largely distinct from the issue of Muslim integration in European main streamiii. The riots that happened in November 2005 and again in 2007 had little to do with desire for the world wide caliphate and a lot more to do with the domestic socio-economic problems.iv Sixty-eight per cent Muslims live in Paris (the Persian suburb makes up the area with the highest proportion of Muslims in France) says Islam / religion is an important part of their life but it does not reflect a correlation between religion and national identity. They associate themselves with both. Seventy-three per cent Muslims living in France said they were loyal to France. However, only thirty-five percent French view Muslims living in France to be loyal to the country.v
The events of the past few years and 9/11 has impacted Muslims everywhere and their genuine demands and desires are translated as acts of extremism, radicalism and carry negative connotations. The terrorist bombings of the public transport systems of Madrid and London have resulted in Europe becoming weary of breeding its own crop of indigenous jihadists. The question of homegrown Muslim terrorism is a serious matter. However, it is distinct from the subject of Muslims' integration into the European mainstream. The use of the issue for political gains, negative media presentation and the narrow elitist view in France chooses to ignore this very important distinction.
History of French Immigration:
France has a long history of immigration. Immigrants were brought in as early as the 18th and 19th century because the process of industrialization in conjunction with the fall in the birth rate had resulted in a labor shortage. In this sense, France was an exception in Western Europe during this period. Most other industrialized states, including Germany, had higher birth rates and were primarily countries of emigration. The shortages on the French labor market were aggravated still further as a result of the decline in population brought about by the wars of 1870-71 and 1914-1918. In order to alleviate this, France concluded labor recruitment agreements with Italy (1904, 1906, 1919), Belgium (1906), Poland (1906) and Czechoslovakia (1920).vi At the beginning of the 1930s, France was the second most important country in the world for immigration after the USA by absolute numbers. At that time there were about 2.7 million immigrants living in France (6.6% of the total population). After the Second World War and during the economic upturn of the 1950s and 1960s, France once again recruited (predominantly male) workers from Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Russia. At the same time, immigration from the former colonies increased due to wars of liberation and the process of decolonization. As a result of the Algerian War (1954–62) and the subsequent independence of Algeria in 1962, a large number of French settlers and pro-French Algerians moved to France.vii
For the last quarter of a century, immigration has emerged as a prioritized agenda point in the polity of France. Although there has been a decline in support for the Extreme right in the 1990’s, the topic still remains a source of controversy and debate. The liberal left wing is often seen towing the line of the right wing politicians. The issue is now discussed around the concept of republican values. There is an overall anti-immigration sentiment in France. During the parliamentary and presidential elections of 1993 and 1995, the left and the right both shunned a direct debate over immigration, but used similar vocabulary to address the matter.viii Prior to the 2012 elections president Sarkozy can be seen doing the same.
The 1945 immigration legislation of France has an egalitarian, individualist and progressive system of issuing permits, without an ethnic criterion. The 1999 Census shows that France has 3.26 million foreign residents and 4.31 million immigrants (foreign-born residents who were born foreigners, whatever their current nationality). Among the foreign residents, seventeen per cent are Portuguese, 15.4 per cent Moroccans, 14.6 per cent Algerians, 6.4 per cents Turks, 6.2 per cent Italians, 5 per cent Spanish and 4.7 per cent Tunisians. Around seven per cent are nationals of Black African countries.ix This ‘international’ diversity can give the feeling that French immigration policy was blind to the ethnic origins of immigrants.x
The legislation favored immigration not only for the workers but also their families. The tradition of assimilation in France precedes the French Revolution, the (ancient regime) laws permitted as easy access to nationality, with religion as a base. The Revolution abolished the religious discrimination and replaced allegiance to the king by allegiance to the nation and the ideals to the nation and the ideals of Revolution. Since the middle of the 19th Century France has welcomed massive immigration, and the French policy has been an attempt to completely assimilate them.
The French melting pot functioned effectively in the first half of the twentieth century and was reflected in their policy of Assimilation. It implied the idea of unilateral adaptation of the immigrant to the laws and the customs of France and of the French. It also implied the idea of the superiority of French culture and national identity and the need for a sort of cultural deletion of the immigrant’s own identity and culture to permit adaptation into French society. Between 1974 and 1984, after immigration of new workers stopped, a political debate began about the status of immigrants and the future of legal non-European migrants. The concept of assimilation lost much of its legitimacy when it was transformed in the political sphere to an opposite concept of ‘insertion’.xi In the French context insertion meant “installation in French society” with the right to refuse assimilation, with the right to defend and to preserve original and collective identities and the right to refuse adaptation to the dominant French culture. Conversationally, it could mean from the melting pot to the salad bowl.
At the opposite end of the political spectrum, ‘insertion’ became a legitimate term for different reasons. After the interruption of new immigration in 1974, those who did wish to allow non-European immigrants to settle permanently in France rallied to the concept of insertion. The right of immigrants to retain their own culture (an aim of anti-racist organizations) could be seen as preparing them to leave France (desired by Extreme Right leaders). Equally ‘insertion’ would make their deportation easier than if they were already mixed into French society. The concept of insertion thus helped to preserve the ambiguity on the future of the migrants, which largely prevailed until 1984. Hence, paradoxically, the deliberate protection of minority cultures (particularly in the school system) was a policy shared by pro- and anti-immigrant groups.xii
The Extreme Right leaders began to the view insertion not as a tool to keep immigrants isolated from the society, but in its role in maintaining foreign communitarianism as a threat to French unity and security. The left wing and non racist parties because of its implied implication of the deporting the non French, revisited their strategies and now campaigned for the right to equality for foreign residents i.e. the right to stay in France and become French. This resulted in a need for change of vocabulary and the term ‘integration’ was coined which became the new legitimate concept of ‘insertion’ and has remained so. Integration is very close to the concept of ‘assimilation’. The unfolding of the policy has seen similar repercussions.
The immigration situation in France has been strongly influenced to the present day by the legacy of colonialism of earlier centuries as well as the long tradition of recruiting foreign workers. Overall, there has been a steady increase in immigration over the last century, and this has had a strong impact on the nature of French society. Although immigration has been regarded as a success story in economic terms, in the past three decades it has increasingly been perceived as the root of social/societal problems. The subtle success of extreme right-wing parties in elections makes this as readily apparent as the unrest that flares up time and again in the suburbs. As a result, integration policy in recent years has moved towards the centre of public attention.
Moreover, immigration policy has simultaneously taken an increasingly restrictive course in France. As in other European countries, there is an effort to manage immigration with a view to maximizing benefits to the economy. Consequently, increased control of admissions and the integration of second- and third-generation descendants of immigrants represent the most important challenges for immigration policy-making in France in the near future. xiii
The immigration policy of France has moved from Assimilation to Insertion and from Insertion to Integration. The 1945 immigration legislation in essence for the immigrants and the Muslims meant that they had their right to preserve in private individually and collectively their own culture in the French society.
The concept of insertion allowed ambiguity on the future of the migrants, which prevail under the new name of ‘insertion’ till 1984. The issue around which the anti-immigration sentiment crystallized in France was the extent of the immigrant racial and cultural differences from the ethnic French and there level of unassimiliablity. Islam being the second largest religion has evolved considerably since the first wave of Muslim immigrants and has a noticeable presence in the public sphere. In 1983, the National Front (FN) emerged which is an anti-immigrant extreme right party. The FN gradually stabilized its influence and was able to gain fifteen per cent of the vote in both the presidential elections of 1995 and the parliamentary elections of 1997. Its popularity was built on anti-immigration discourse.xiv The perception of a decline of ‘integration’ supposedly justified the 1993 reform of nationality law. xv
The issue of immigration in France has met with problems because of this swing model policy. Politicians have either avoided the topic or have hedged the truth. The crux of the matter is that, no political leader has dared to tell its public that immigrant will come to France because of the construct of the French constitution, and the fact that it is based upon the ‘Declaration of the Right of Man’. Another dimension is the glaring reality that between 2010 and 2050, France would need 5.5 million immigrants to maintain the current size of its working population, roughly 136,000 per year. If the French government goes by its constitution- a lot of them would be Muslims. Statistics tell us that 68.5% of all new immigrants to France in 2010 were Muslims.xvi See chart for Muslim migration to France in 2010.
Socio Economic Dimension:
France was riddled by riots and fire in 2005 and again in 2007. What was erroneously reported by the US press as Muslim riot never had a religious aspect.xvii They were serious social and economic riots. The Economic disparity between French natives and the Arab immigrant community is large. The unemployment rate for people of French origin is nine percent, but reaches fourteen per cent for those who are of foreign descent. For those with university degrees, unemployment is five percent overall, but twenty-seven percent among North African university graduatesxviii. One Arab journalist, Nadir Dendoune, described his perception of this part of the problem in the following manner, “You feel you will never make it because you are Arab.”xix
French people are weary of immigrants because they fear they will lose their jobs. A March 2000 survey indicated that a majority of citizens thought immigration causes unemployment to rise,xx a perception that increases during periods of economic recession.xxi However, the fear of unemployment in French Muslims is eighty-four per cent.xxii The rate of unemployment among highly educated youth of Algerian origin is forty-one per cent, compare to twenty two to twenty three per cent for their Spanish and Portuguese counterpart and only sixty per cent for native French. The same discrimination is reflected in the labor market despite the egalitarian individualist republican model.xxiii
The foremost victims of urban settlement issues in France are also the Blacks and the Arabs. Low income housing was built for the poor. In the 1960s, the French government developed huge public housing programs in the suburbs of most cities; the architecture was ugly but it was an emergency with the arrival of many immigrants, including almost one million "Pieds-Noirs"(French people living in Algeria and expelled in 1962). Progressively all the people who could afford to live somewhere else have left and it led, forty years later, to large urban areas where everybody is poor, buildings are poorly maintained and vandalized.xxiv However housing shortage also increased as the building of the low income housing was reduced in 1990’s. It made it impossible to meet the needs of many new legal immigrants as well as much second generation individual. This has created the issue of housing for the poor, but when they were built they allowed the concentration of these in one area, the ghettoization of Muslims/poor. This latter emerged as the ‘No Go Zones’ of France where the ‘zero generation’ of France lives.xxv There are 751 sensitive Urban Zones (No-go for the police) five million Muslims live in these zones.xxvi
Prayers on the Streets:
There are 2000 mosques and prayers rooms in France. The weekly ‘Friday’ prayers over flow on to the streets in only in a dozen places mostly in Paris and Marseille, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority. This was also addressed by giving them space elsewhere. The French government made arrangements in an abandoned fire station in the Goutte d'Or district in Paris until a new, larger mosque is built in 2013. The moderate Muslim’s response was "It's the beginning of a solution," Sheikh Mohammed Salah Hamza told Reuters news agency. "The faithful are very pleased to be here." Kaddar Abdelkader, who used to pray in the street, said to BBC "I think it's great. It's good. Before we used to pray outside and that wasn't good at all."xxvii
However, the depiction in the media and the politically charged statements turned it into a contest between French secularism or Laïcité and the Muslims. For example, Le Pen of FN had described the growing phenomenon of praying on the streets and sidewalks as an "invasion",xxviii "occupation without tanks or soldiers" and compared Muslim praying on the streets to Nazi Occupation. Sarkozy recently called Muslim prayers in the street "unacceptable" and said that the street cannot be allowed to become "an extension of the mosque." He also warned that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.
In February 2011, Sarkozy denounced multiculturalism as a failure and said Muslims must assimilate into the French culture if they want to be welcomed in France. In a live-broadcast interview with French Channel One television, Sarkozy said: "I do not want a society where communities coexist side by side … France will not welcome people who do not agree to melt into a single community. We have been too busy with the identity of those who arrived and not enough with the identity of the country that accepted them."xxix
The issue stands politicized is quite obvious. President Sarkozy’s popularity is at record lows, thirteen months before the first round of the 2012 presidential election. A recent opinion poll showed far-right leader Marine Le Pen had overtaken Sarkozy, sending shockwaves through the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). Playing on the far right ground, Sarkozy has been accused of causing the far-Right surge by focusing on a string of pet FN issues, from immigration to Islam.xxx
Muslims and France’s Domestic Policy:
Inspite of all the negativity sanity prevails. The constitutional and state responses to the issue are commendable.
State and Constitutional Responses:
French government acknowledged Islam as an official religion.xxxi The agreement is seen as a turning point in the history of Arabs and Muslims in France –it gives them:
Freedom of Belief
Open and Safe performance of religious rituals
The freedom of wearing Islamic costumes and eating meat that is Kosher.
Build mosques and cemeteries
Construct French Schools
Have their own feast and especially occasions i.e. Eid, Eid-ul-Azha and Prophet’s Birthday
This is granted to the Muslims in exchange for respect for the French constitution. This is seen as a fair demand by most immigrant Muslims.
The French government moved to include the Algerian issue on the Agenda of the G-7 conference by transforming the Algerian situation to an international issue. France may appease the anxieties of its Muslim subjects by approaching relevant institutions and organizations to redress grievances. The European court of human rights has an important role to play in setting standards not only for France but for all European countries.xxxii
The creation if the Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman is also an important step in the right direction. The Council has begun the Imam training program, which offers a moderate perspective on Islam. The French Muslim community is being encouraged to accept these imams trained by the centers. The Muslim community acceptance of these Imams is more important than their formal religious training. This should go a long way in addressing the issue of indigenous religious extremism in France.xxxiii
There are a number of major Muslim organizations located in Paris that operate as national umbrella organizations. These include:
APBIF (Association des Projets de Bienfaisance Islamiques en France):Central focuses include intercultural charitable projects by Muslims in France, based on a Sunni model of piety.
CFCM (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman): Politically charged, CFCM seeks to represent more than 3.5 million Muslims in France, and intervene on issues of religious life in France. Different components of the organization include the FNMF (the National Federation of Muslims in France), UOIF (Union of Islamic organizations in France), and the Grand Mosque of Paris.
UOIF (Union of Islamic Organizations): Located under the umbrella of the CFCM, the UOIF is an Islamic federation launched in France in 1983, with reputed ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. It coordinates the actions of about 100 associations, and maintains ownership of approximately 30 mosques in major cities around France.
EMF (Etudiants Musulmans en France): Created in 1989, the EMF prides itself on being an ‘association made by students for students.’ Objectives include inter-faith and inter-cultural approached to challenges experienced by students, making an effort to fight for comprehensive advancement of students – academic, social, and personal, and encouraging the university setting as hospitable grounds for open dialogue and discussion.xxxiv
France's Constitutional Council struck down key aspects of a security law of President Sarkozy’z government. The Constitutional Council overturned 13 articles from security legislation passed by UMP government in February because they violated France's constitution. The reversal came when centrist lawmakers rebelled against another bill to strip citizenship from recent immigrants who attack police officers.
"The Constitutional Council has decided to censure with extreme severity a government which abuses the law and freedoms to which French citizens are legitimately attached," said Jean-Jacques Urvoas, national secretary of the opposition Socialist Party.
Among the articles removed by the Constitutional Council was one guaranteeing minimum sentences for under-age offenders. Another would have given municipal police the powers to carry out identity checks.xxxv
The head scarves controversy is always referred to when Islam in France is a point of discussion the matter was settled, after many violent demonstrations, hunger strikes, media debates and law suits. On May 2, 1996 when an appeals court in Nancy ordered the French State to pay two thousand dollars compensation to Ms Salwa (Muslim girl) who was banned from school for wearing a head scarf. The same tribunal also upheld the appeal of six Arab girls from Colmar, who were banned from attending their classes for the same offense.xxxvi The use of head scarves has considerably gone down in France. The veil and prayers on the street ban is acceptable to most.
France will need immigrants in years to come. A lot of them will be Muslims. The second and third generation of immigrants will remain a part and parcel of French society. The French policy makers and its thinking elites need to come up with strategies of peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance to accommodate the sensitivities and sensibilities of the French republic and the immigrants in an era of intolerance and fragmentation.
There has to be a focus on job creation and venues for upward social mobility and creating a sense of belonging and productivity for the so called ‘zero generation’. At the same time, the French society should feel secure about its identity and value system. They have a very long and strong cultural heritage to draw from.
A new social perspective which is not focused on uniformity but sees unity in diversity is essential for survival. Respecting diversity helps facilitate communication between people of different backgrounds, life styles and believe systems, leading to generation of greater knowledge, understanding and peaceful co-existence. Unity in diversity is the highest possible attainment of a civilization, a testimony to the noblest possibilities of the human race. This attainment is made possible through passionate concern for choice, in an atmosphere of social trust.xxxvii The French culture and values are strong and rich. The French identity does not stand threatened. In fact, it has served as role model for others. France should draw from its past traditions of cultural strength to face the challenges of contemporary world.
*Dr. Huma Baqai is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of Social Sciences Department at Institution of Business Administration, Karachi.
i France, May 27, 2011, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3842.htm, accessed on September 16, 2011
ii Alain Guyomarch, Howard Machin, Peter A. Hall and Jack Hayward, “Developments in French Politics”, Palgrave Great Britain, 2001. Pg. 224
iii EU reports post-Sept. 11 racism, CNN - May 24, 2002
iv Olivier Roy , "The Nature of the French Riots", Social Science Research Council. November 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2011. "The bulk of the rioters are second generation migrants, but, if we consider the names of the arrested people, it is more ethnically mixed than one could have expected (beyond the second generation with a Muslim background—mainly North Africans, plus some Turks and Africans—there are also many non-Muslim Africans as well as people with French, Spanish or Portuguese names). The rioters are French citizens (only around 7% of the arrested people are foreigners, usually residents). [...]the religious dimension is conspicuously absent from the riots. This is not a revolt of the Muslims.
v Razia Tajuddin, “Islam in Paris”, available at http://www.euro-islam.info/country-profiles/city-profiles/paris/, accessed on September 20, 2011
vi “Focus Migration”, http://focus-migration.hwwi.de/France.1231.0.html?&L=1, accessed on September 20, 2011, In the First World War alone, 1.4 million French people were killed or disabled.
vii Ibid.,In total, this concerned about two million people, who were mostly described as pieds-noirs (“black feet”). Among them there were also about 100,000 so-called Harkis, i.e. Muslim Algerians who had fought on the side of the French army during the Algerian War of Independence. While the majority of the Harkis were killed after the French withdrawal, a small number managed to immigrate to France. Their legal position was long a matter of dispute.
viii Op cit., Developments in French Politics, pg. 216
ix Ibid, pg. 212
xi Ibid, pg 222
xiii Op cit., Focus Migration
xiv Op cit., Developments in French Politics, pg. 211
xv Ibid, pg. 224, French nationality law is historically based on the principles of jus soli, according to Ernest Renan's definition, and/or the German's definition of nationality formalized by Fichte. The 1993 reform (Méhaignerie Act) required children born in France of foreign parents to request French nationality at adulthood, rather than being automatically accorded citizenship. This "manifestation of will" requirement was subsequently abrogated by the Guigou Law of 1998, but children born in France of foreign parents remain foreign until obtaining legal majority. For details see also, http://www.enotes.com/topic/French_nationality_law
xvi “The Future of Global Muslim Population: Projections from 2010-2030”, January 27, 2011, available at http://pewforum.org/future-of-the-global-muslim-population-regional-europe.aspx , accessed October 3, 2011
xviii Henri Astier, “French Muslims Face Job Discrimination,” November 2, 2005, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4399748.stm, accessed December 13, 2007.
xx Walter Nonneman, “Migration Policy Institute: The Transatlantic Task Force on Immigration and Integration”, European Immigration and the Labor Market, July 2007, available at http://www. migrationinformation.org/transatlantic/ImmigrationEULaborMarket_72507.pdf, accessed November 30, 2007.
xxi Joel S. Fetzer. Public Attitudes toward Immigration in the United States, France, and Germany, University Press, Cambridge, 2000, p. 122.
xxii French Issues, available at http://www.understandfrance.org/French/Issues.html, accessed on September 28, 2011
xxiii Op cit., Developments in French Politics, pg. 223
xxv Muslim Immigrants in France, April 1995, http://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=617_0_4_0 , accessed on 16 October 2011,"The zero generation" is a term coined to describe the French born-children of immigrants parents, who have no opportunities due to a stagnant French economy. They are frequently turning to fundamentalism.
xxvi “No-Go Areas of France and the rest of Europe”, November 29, 2006, available at, http://www.geographictravels.com/2006/11/no-go-areas-of-france-and-rest-of.html, An increasingly commonly thing in European cities is the no-go zone. These are places where the police, medical rescue crews, and other government agents will not venture into. The areas are viewed as just too violent and/or risky to enforce rules. Following the rules of ungoverned spaces, anarchy does not reign for long. A group will enforce their own rule set and the no-go zone will become a microstate. In France no-go zones are referred to as Zones Urbaines Sensibles (Sensitive Urban Zones). A few are truly no-go zones while most are just areas where the government is focusing more devlopment and police require special procedures to operate. A few (NOT ALL of the 751 ZUS, as falsely report in "anti-jihadist blogs," of these zones, primarily around Paris) are under control of radical Islamists. From these no-go zones around Paris and other urban centers, Islamic militants are waging cultural and sometimes even guerrilla warfare against French police. The police are now taking to the streets in protest against the violence targeted at them in Lyons with police unions claiming there is a civil war against them.It is important to remember that the Islamist movement in France is small overall. However, the much larger issue of racial discrimination of French against Muslim ethnic groups feeds into the Islamist movement and non-Islamists will commit violent action in favor of Islamists because it hurts the French rule-of-law.
xxvii “Paris ban on Muslim Street Prayers come into effect”, September 16, 2011,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14945467, accessed on 18 October 2011
xxviii Nicholas Vinocur, “France bans street prayers”, September 16, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/16/us-france-muslims-idUSTRE78F4CC20110916, accessed on 18 October 2011
xxix Soeren Kern, “France Bans Muslim Street Prayers:An Occupation Without Tanks and Soldiers", September 20, 2011, http://www.hudson-ny.org/2435/france-bans-muslim-street-prayers
xxx “Islam Debate Splits Sarkozy’s Rulling Party”, March 30, 2011, available at http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/451342-islam-debate-splits-sarkozys-ruling-party.html, accessed 12 October 2011
xxxi Muslims in France, http://english.bayynat.org.lb/muslimcommunities/France.htm
xxxii Affan Seljuq, “Cultural Conflicts: North African Immigrants in France”, The international Journal of Peace Studies, http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol2_2/seljuq.htm , accessed 12 October 2011
xxxiii Professoer Joseph Kickasola, during in his lecture in his Quranic law class at Regent University, November 21, 2007
xxxiv Op cit, Islam in Paris
xxxv Sarkozy suffers setback over French Security Law, March 11, 2011, accessed on October 18, 2011, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/11/uk-france-sarkozy-law-idUKTRE72A4NQ20110311
xxxvi Dawn 3 May 1996, Karachi.
xxxvii Michael Novak, epigraph opening Unity in Diversity: An Index to the Publications of Conservative and Libertarian Institutions, 1983