by Saied R. Ameli, Arzu Merali and Ehsan Shahghasemi, published 9 October 2012
"This is a crucial report to understand hate crimes in France and Europe today. The report shows that Islamophobia is a form of racial discrimination and its long duree consequences for its victims. It breaks with the idea that Islamophobia is unrelated to hate crimes. The report constitutes an important intervention of interest for policy makers, activists as well as scholars. I strongly recommend it!"
Ramón Grosfoguel, Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley
“Islamophobia in France is also a continuation of colonial and racist discourse, argues the Islamic Human Rights Commission in this insightful study of French political culture and attitudes."
Liz Fekete, Institute of Race Relations
France and the Hated Society: Muslim Experiences, exposes the pervasive nature of Islamophobic discrimination in France. Survey results show that over 80% of Muslims in France have had such negative experiences, including hearing offensive jokes being made about Islam or Muslims; hearing Islamophobic comments being made by politicians; and witnessing the implementation of policies, both political and organisational, that impact Muslims negatively. The highest figure, over 87%, reported seeing negative stereotypes of Muslims in the media. Solutions to such deep-seated problems in Muslim/non-Muslim interaction in France can only be found through a study of history, both medieval and modern. This report is part of a project assessing Muslim experiences of hostility and discrimination in different countries.
Of the 29 categories of explicit and implicit forms of discrimination and hate respondents were asked about, 28 categories were reported by an alarming proportion of respondents (a minimum of 44% and maximum of 87%). Physical assault was reported by only 11% of respondents, but this figure is also significant due to the severe nature of the experience. Because 68% of the sample group were French-born, over 80% were French citizens and over 98% reported France as their place of residence, these figures reflect disturbing realities about the situation of Muslims in France.
Solutions to such problems cannot be drawn without considering the historical context behind such attitudes. The study considers how such acts are encouraged and legitimised, including discriminatory legislation resulting in social inequality and negative media representation of Muslims. A historical-cultural context is set out, charting French interaction with Islam and Muslims from the earliest days up to the present day, focusing on important historical turning points, such as the crusades; the expulsion of Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492; and the impact of French imperial ambition post-1789. The contemporary state of Muslims in France is studied, considering roles played by laïcité, multiculturalism, communautarisme and French republicanism on French self-perception. Issues relating to immigration, the Algerian War of Liberation, the demonization of refugees and the debate surrounding housing, unemployment and marginalisation are all considered.
Explicit forms of racist and Islamophobic discrimination and hate are also considered, including violent attacks against mosques and cemeteries; controversies surrounding the construction of mosques; and the negative role played by philosophers, intellectuals and popular literature in promoting Islamophobic hate in France.
The report concludes by making its most important recommendations relating to media self-regulation and a carefully considered rethink of the academy, due to the important role played by both in perpetuating an environment conducive to discrimination.
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