Islam Gaining Ground in France

Islam Gaining Ground in France

While Islamist terror attacks in Paris, Marseilles and other places are what hit the headlines, the big picture story of 21st century France is the ever-widening gulf between Muslim citizens and the indigenous French.

While the French state bars the collection and use of statistics on different races and religions, French pollster Jérôme Fourquet has gathered a considerable set of data on France’s Muslim communities. As he documents in his book L’Archipel français, there is a clear pattern of residential (self-)segregation and socio-economic stratification along ethno-religious lines:

Among the many insights in the study is growing evidence of a resurgence in Islamic sentiment:

The studies and polls that we have all converge in indicating a greater frequency and observance of religious signs in the population of Muslim faith or origin. The turning point seems to have been the early 2000s. (p. 163)

In the early 1990s, around 60% of Muslims in France fasted for Ramadan, the figure for the 2000s varied between 67% and 71% (p. 164). In the 1990s, 35% to 39% of Muslims said they drank alcohol, a figure which fell to 32% in 2011 and 22% in 2016. The proportion of Muslim women wearing headscarves has risen from 24% in 2003 to 35% in 2016. Perhaps most surprisingly, a recent poll found that young Muslims are significantly more hostile to sex before marriage than are their elders. Whereas 55% of Muslims over 50 said “A woman should remain a virgin until marriage,” 74% of 18-24 year-olds were of this opinion (p. 167).

There is strong evidence that the Muslim vote is opportunistic according to ethnic interests as against any particular principles. Whereas Turks in France largely vote for the multicultural, feminist, secularist, and redistributionist left in French elections, in 2017 65% of eligible Turks voted in favor of the referendum strengthening the powers Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a nationalistic Islamist politician (p. 141). The Turks indeed have developed their own cultural and political ecosystem in France, with spiritual leadership being provided by Turkish state-paid imams. Astonishingly, Erdoğan’s Law and Justice Party (AKP) fielded 68 candidates in the French legislative elections of June 2017.

The Afro-Islamization of neighborhoods has coincided with the emergence of “sensitive areas” in middle-sized cities across the country, with similar patterns of crime, drug dealing, and attacks on police and firefighters (p. 184).

There has been an explosion of marijuana use across the country. In 1993, 21% of 17-year-olds had used marijuana, rising to 50.2% in 2002 (roughly stabilizing around that level, p. 195). An estimated 200,000 people live from this illicit industry as dealers and suppliers, with back-and-forth trips especially to producers in Morocco (p. 198). This rare example of entrepreneurship among youth in France today unfortunately coincides with the development of gangs and lawless buildings/neighborhoods controlled by local toughs. 76% of police officers are worried about the growth of no-go areas (p. 215).

Paradoxically, a strong Islamic identity both threatens indigenous European culture and is more likely to limit interactions/intermarriage between Europeans and Muslims, as well as reawaken Europeans to their own identity and tradition amidst the reigning nihilism.