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Most French see Islam too influential in society: poll PDF Print E-mail
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World Press - World Press
Written by Daniel Flynn, Reuters   
Friday, 09 November 2012 18:44

France hijab

(Paris) - An increasing majority of people in France believe Islam plays too influential a role in their society and almost half see Muslims as a threat to their national identity, according to a poll published on Thursday.

The survey by pollster Ifop in Le Figaro newspaper showed that 60 percent of people believed that Islam was "too important" in France in terms of its influence and visibility, up from 55 percent two years ago.

It found that 43 percent of respondents considered the presence of the Muslim community as a threat to their national identity, compared with just 17 percent who said it enriched society. Forty percent of those questioned were indifferent to the presence of Islam, Le Figaro said.

"Our poll shows a further hardening in French people's opinions," Jerome Fourquet, head of Ifop's opinion department, told the newspaper.

The struggle of secular France, whose people are mainly Catholic, to assimilate the largest Islamic population in Europe was thrust into the spotlight in March when Muslim Mohamed Merah, went on a shooting spree in southwest France that killed three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers.

"In recent years, there has not been a week when Islam has not been in the heart of the news for social reasons: the veil, halal food, for dramatic news like terrorist attacks or geopolitical reasons," Fourquet said.

The prevalence of halal food and rising immigration - particularly from Islamic north Africa - were hot topics in the campaign for the presidential election as Nicolas Sarkozy sought to appeal to voters of the far-right National Front.

Sarkozy eventually lost to Socialist Francois Hollande but a contender to lead his conservative UMP party, Jean Francois Cope, put Islam back on the agenda this month by suggesting Muslim youths were tearing pain au chocolat pastries from children's hands during Islam's fasting month of Ramadan.

The publication of the poll also came after a far-right group occupied a mosque in the western city of Poitiers at the weekend and issued a "declaration of war" against what it called the Islamisation of France.

Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Muslim Council (CFCM), said fear of Islam was being stoked by political manipulation of concern over immigration and fears the growing Muslim population could lead to the imposition of sharia law.

"Islam has left the spiritual sphere to become a political subject," he said, in response to the poll. "Attempts to associate marginal practices with mainstream Muslim religion fuels the rejection of every aspect of Islam."

The survey, carried out on October 15-18 on 1,736 people, showed a growing resistance to the symbols of the Islamic faith. Some 43 percent of those questioned were opposed to more mosque building, up from 39 percent in 2010.

Sixty-three percent opposed Muslim women wearing the veil or Islamic headscarves in public, compared with 59 percent two years ago. Sarkozy's previous conservative banned the wearing of full-face veils.

Comments (2)
  • Saleem akhtar  - Islam in france
    The problem here is the truth really hurts. When someone wants to enjoy themselves and you tell them to stay in the boudaries they get worried. Islam is the true and pure religion every sole is born as muslim until they go to their respective familes of different religions then they become that . There is no force in religion no one is forcing anyone . The truth will prevail eventually. Every soul shall taste the death. Then they will realize what islam was. But it will be too late. We muslims will never leave our pure and true religion and worship saran and his armies the final victory will be with muslims god willing. Muslims need to stay steadfast and avoid any conflict with the disbelievers and we shall see the results. The west is worried cos its not only people from certain countries who are muslims even in uk america and other non muslim countries there is rise of conversions and this is wat the west is worried about there own people are converting in millions cos no one wants to follow false religions and people are waking up
  • Hazem El-Alfy  - Significance of the hate incident at Poitiers
    The city of Poitiers where the terrorist group occupied the mosque has a special historic significance. This is the farthest where the Muslims reached in the conquest of Europe in the 7th century. At that city, the Muslim army was defeated and suffered so many martyrs. The battle is considered in European history as "a struggle which preserved Christianity as the religion of Europe" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tours
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