Muslim Immigrants in France

by Natsuki Oshiro

France is a country that has a lot of immigrants. The population of immigrants is about 6 million. (This is about 10% of total population of France.) Many immigrants are from North Africa. From 1950s to 1960s, France was in postwar reconstruction and rapid grows. In that time, they are called into France as the workforce.

In 1970s, oil crises happened and depression became serious. Because of that, France stopped the reception of foreigner workers.  After that, many foreign workers that were in France before that time settled down in France. And they called their families into France. In other words, they became immigration.

In 1980s, immigration became visible as heterogeneous people for genuine French. And new problem happened in nonreligious republic. That is a problem of “integration” of second generation immigrants. This was the beginning of “Problem of scarf”.

In 1990s,” Suburban problem” became clearly existed. Due to changes in economic structure, the unemployment rate rose, and employment discrimination happened normally. This is, if academic background is same, a person whose name is French-style is five times as many as those whose name is Moroccan-style. This is an experimental result that was surveyed by Paris First University.

In the same times as that, Far-right political parties stating “anti-immigrant” expanded the power.

In 2001, 9.11 happened, and theory of “Islamic Threat” was often said.

In 2004, Religious symbol banning Law (anti-scarf law) was established. This law banned wearing religious things in public places. In spite of France being state separation of church and state, it is very exceptional case to establish like that.

In the next year, immigrants started a big riot against immigrant discrimination in suburbs of the big city by immigrants. And in 2010, “Burqa banning law” was established.

As I stated above, the French government set up the law that bans wearing Burqa in public thoroughfare or public spaces. Burqa is clothes for Muslim women, and that covers over head to foot. For French, that makes them associate that to Islamic fundamentalism, and gives French weird impression.

The beginning of the problem is “Scarf trouble” that happened at a public junior high school in the suburb of Paris, in 1989. Over the right or wrong of Muslim girls going to school with wearing scarf, the Raishite Hardliners and the Faction tolerance multiculturalism disputed severely. After that, the problem stayed to smolder. And in March 2004, Religious symbol banning Law (anti-scarf law) was established.

The Burqa law in 2010 is stricter than that. With the background that fear for Islam that stirred up by the mass media, it is bad law that restricts public freedom of minority.

Not only the problem like having to do with the Burqa, there are so many immigrants problems in France.  President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, is also second generation immigrant. I think that is ironic.

Namioka, Shintaro, 2011. Hito to Bunka no kousa Part Four:Musurimu josei deari France simin dearukoto (Intersection of people and culture: That Muslim woman as a French citizen). Tokyo: Akashi syoten.

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