Muslims in France: Government Policy and Political Integration
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Islam is the second religion in France. France has historically been a country to accept people from different parts of the world, but Muslims continue to be marginalized in suburban ghettos where crime, drugs, and unemployment are high. The aim of this research is to look at how the integration polices of the French government (namely those affecting political participation of religious minorities) affect the organization of Muslim and Islamic associations, Muslim political action, and the efforts of Muslims to dialogue with the French government. The French integration and immigration policies are framed by the republican model which calls upon strict secularization and centralization. This model has led to policies that limit the appearance and affirmation of different ethnic and cultural communities. Also, under the strict secularism of the state the government is not allowed to collect census data regarding religious adherence and they are not allowed to promote policies of affirmative action to help specific minorities. The republican model serves as a barrier for Muslim political integration because it opposes the appearance of ethnic lobbies and it does not allow for the state to take specific measures to address the social exclusion of Muslims. Although in theory and in rhetoric republicanism stands strong in the minds of French politicians, in practice it is becoming more and more ?flexible? to the demands of minority groups, namely Muslims, as these groups are more present and are pushing for political rights.