19 April 2017

How an 'Islamic' bar became a French election scandal

.... France has Europe's biggest Muslim community, estimated at around five million, a legacy of its colonial history in Africa and its desire for cheap labour in the booming post-war years.

Hakim El Karoui, the author of a major study on Muslims in France last September, believes the footage from the Jockey Club misrepresented the bar -- but it was so explosive because it rang true.

"There are segregated areas in France, segregated because there are only immigrants there... where the cultural norms are of Africa, not of France in the 21st century," he told AFP.

He believes successive governments have looked the other way as ghettoes built up and an aggressive strain of political Islam took hold, particularly among disaffected young people.

According to a survey that formed part of Karoui's controversial study for the respected Montaigne Institute last year, 28 percent of Muslims in France reject the values of the French republic.

"They are in favour of polygamy, they are against secularism, around 70 percent (of this minority) are in favour of women wearing the burka," he says, reeling off the problems.

The study called "A French Islam is possible" also showed about half of Muslims in France (46 percent) were integrated fully, while another 25 percent were judged as conservatives somewhere between those two groups. [AFP] Read more