• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Provocative survey shows French hostility for Muslims
Photo: AFP

Provocative survey shows French hostility for Muslims

Oliver Gee · 1 Feb 2016, 11:21

Published: 01 Feb 2016 11:21 GMT+01:00

"How would you feel if your daughter married a black person? A Jew? A Muslim?"
 
Questions like these appeared in a new survey that was commissioned by the Jewish Foundation of France on the topic of "living together" in France.
 
The survey, carried out by Ipsos over 18 months from July 2014 and then published on Sunday by French weekly Le Journal de Dimanche (JDD) comes at a time of heightened tensions following the terror attacks on 2015.
 
The responses suggested, not for the first time, that France appears to be ill at ease with its diversity, in particular the presence of Europe's largest Muslim community.
 
'Muslims responsible for poor integration?'
 
Almost 90 percent of respondents blamed poor Muslim immigration on the Muslims themselves, claiming that it was their fault for "refusing to be open to society".
 
In fact, 27 percent of respondents thought the majority of Muslims were "poorly integrated" in the first place.
 
A total of 53 percent responded that they would be "annoyed" to see a woman covering her face with a veil in public, an act which was banned in France over five years ago. 
 
When asked how they'd respond if their daughter married a Muslim, 56 percent said they would "react badly".
 
The survey also proved uncomfortable reading for France's Jewish community, with old clichés showing no sign of dying out.
 
Some 56 percent of respondents said they believed the typical Jew is richer than the average French person, and 60 percent said that the Jewish community was partly responsible for the rise in anti-Semitism.
 
Thirteen percent also said that were too many Jews in France.
 
The survey also revealed a collective pessimism among respondents when it came to France in general. 
 
Some 79 percent of people said they thought France was "on the decline", with 61 percent saying the future looks "murky".
 
54 percent of respondents said immigration did not "enrich" France, while 30 percent of people said "a racist reaction can be justified". 
 
Around two thirds of respondents said that "you can't trust most people in daily life".
 
'An odious poll'
 
But almost as controversial as the results was the poll itself, which saw over 1,000 random people interviewed, with their results blended in with those of several hundred members of the Jewish and Muslim communities.
 
The polling method was the main source of controversy for both its choice of questions and the fact that the pollsters sought out Jews and Muslims to respond. 
 
Ariel Goldmann, the president of the Jewish organization behind the study, admitted to hesitating before publishing the survey, but said it was intended to "help fight prejudice".
 
"This study is neither accusatory or generalist. It is more of a measure of the ills that plague us as French people," he said.
 
Others took to social media to point the finger at what at least one user called a "shameful" poll. 
 
Gérald Darmanin, the mayor of Tourcoing in northern France, questioned why the survey was ever published.
 
"Being a Muslim, a Jew, or a Catholic is a belief - not a 'type' of person," he wrote on Twitter. 
 
Nathalie Goulet, the senator vice-chairwoman of the foreign affairs committee, called on the minister of justice to launch an investigation into the newspaper that published the survey, which she referred to as "odious".  
 
Her tweet, below, includes a shot of the response to the question: "In the past year, have you personally been faced with problems (such as insults or aggression) from the following groups?"
 
The response column then lists north Africans, Roma, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, and Asians. 
 
Story continues below…
 
France has seen a troubling rise in attacks on Muslims, Jews, and churches in the past year.
 
Hate crimes against Muslims tripled last year alone, while anti-Semitic assaults remained at an already "high level", and attacks on Christian sites rose by a fifth, French officials announced last month
 
While the method may have been questionable it's not the first poll to suggest that France has any issue with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
 
In April last year, the french government decided urgent steps needed to be taken and launched a plan to fight "intolerable" racism in the country.
 
"Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners, homophobia are increasing in an intolerable manner," said PM Manuel Valls at the time. 
 
Valls's plan came just two months after a damning report from the human rights watchdog The Council of Europe which concluded that the French public are becoming more racist and more intolerant towards minorities.
Today's headlines
Pokémon Go sparks chaos and concern in France
Teenagers sprint through a park in Bordeaux, not in panic, but in search of a rare Pokemon. Photo: MonsieurBright/YouTube

Videos of hundreds of people sprinting through a park would normally be cause for panic in France at the moment.

The ten places where you really need to speak French
Photo: Lily A./Flickr

There are some places and situations in France where you just have to speak French.

Isis can be a conduit for psychopaths' violent desires
A pilce of rubbish marks the spot where Nice truck attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was shot by police.

Isis did not create these attackers, they were well on their way.

Angry Marseille Muslim ends up in war of words with Isis
Photo: Facebook Henni Mohamed/AFP

"Who do you think you are, the Power Rangers?" Marseille man's foul-mouthed fighting talk provokes Isis to respond.

Thousands of travellers face seven-day Air France strike
Photo: mariordo59/Flickr

The strike is set to run from July 27th to August 2nd and as many as 130,000 passengers could be affected.

No, Dover travel chaos wasn't French revenge for Brexit

What a load of Brex**it. Resources, not revenge, is the big issue for the French.

The worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
A French motorway. Photo: Maelick/Flickr

Don't get caught out by these common ploys gangs of thieves have used to target motorists in France.

Hoax bomb found at Paris Metro station
Photo: AFP

Bomb squad called in to a Paris Metro station after the discovery of a bag with a walkie-talkie antenna and red wires sticking out.

Five key moments in Chris Froome' Tour de France win
The victorious Christopher Froome. Photo: AFP

Here are the key moments that earned Christopher Froome his third Tour de France victory.

Terror attack in Nice
Policewoman's Nice claims leave government in crisis
Photo: AFP

The pressure is mounting on the French government after a policewoman claimed she was pressured to change her report over security measures in Nice on the night of the July 14th attack.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
National
Ten reasons not to leave Paris this summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Ten ways other expats in France drive you mad
'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
Travel
Ten crazy things to do in France if you dare
Society
Paris: an obstacle course for wheelchair users
2,767
jobs available