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Post Paris attacks: How the French are thinking

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Post Paris attacks: How the French are thinking
Gauging the mood of French public opinion in post-Paris attacks France. Photo: AFP
17:22 CET+01:00
A mammoth survey has been carried out to try and gauge the mood of the French nation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. From the public's views towards Islam, Marine Le Pen and extremists the Le Monde/Europe1 poll sheds light on current opinion.

The survey was published on Wednesday by Europe1 radio and Le Monde newspaper under the title: "What does a 'post-Charlie' France look like?'

The poll, carried out by Ipsos / Sopra-Steria, studied French public opinion in the light of the terrorist attacks of January 7th to 9th that left 17 dead.

Here's a summary of the findings:

Islam more compatible with French society

One result that may surprise some is that acceptance of Islam is growing in France with only 51 percent saying that “Islam is not compatible with the values of French society” compared to 63 percent in 2014 and 74 percent in 2013.

Political orientation seems to have a strong influence on whether Islam is perceived as compatible with French society. Of those judging Islam as compatible, 66 percent sympathise with left-wing parties, compared to 39 percent of supporters of the conservative UMP party, to only 12 percent of people connected to the far-right National Front.

Some 50.3 percent of women are more tolerant of Islam compared to a percentage of 43.5 percent among men.  

Acceptance of Catholicism and Judaism appears to be much greater given that 93 percent and 81 percent of those polled judge them as compatible with French values.


Photo: AFP

Islam as peaceful as other religions

With 66 percent, the majority of those polled consider Islam to be as peaceful as other religions and view jihadism as a perversion of the religion. Some 81 percent of the supporters of the Socialist Party believe Islam is an equally peaceful religion, compared to 53 percent of UMP supporters, and a minority of 39 percent of those supporting the National Front.

Muslim representatives have been heard

Some 65 percent of the participants in the poll say that in the aftermath of the Paris shootings the Muslim representatives condemning the attacks were “quite present” and 60 percent said they were “convinced”. Some 58 percent said that “it is right to ask them to condemn the attacks because it’s the only way to avoid confusing Muslims in general and extremist jihadists in particular”.

However, 35 percent fear that by “insisting too much one risks to create a feeling of unease in the Muslim community, which will feel more and more stigmatised”.

Increase military presence abroad

Half of those polled want French military presence increased in places where troops are already deployed (Mali, Iraq). Some 40 percent want to maintain military presence, and only 9 percent want to see it decreased.

A majority of 65 percent wants France to intervene more directly in Syria in an international coalition against Islamic jihadism.

Measures against religious extremism

The poll proposes five measures to deal with religious extremism and the majority of those polled are in favour of all of them. Some 95 percent support tougher conditions for detainees who contribute to the spreading of extremist ideas in prison.

Some 90 percent are in favour of stripping French people of their nationality for leaving for Syria to wage jihad.

Some 71 percent and 67 percent respectively agree that it should be possible to listen in to suspects' phone calls and search their homes without permission from officials.

According to 61 percent, it should be possible to interrogate suspects without a lawyer present.


Photo: AFP

Public satisfied with MPs

Overall, those polled appear to be satisfied with how MPs handled the aftermath of the attacks.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls takes the lead with 86 percent thinking that his “attitude was appropriate during the events”.

Next up is President François Hollande with 83 percent followed by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve with 81 percent. Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira lags behind with only 50 percent thinking her attitude was appropriate.



Photo: AFP

Disapproval for Marine Le Pen

Some 69 percent of those polled stated they disapproved of National Front leader Marine Le Pen’s attitude as she didn’t participate in the unity marches and instead held her own homage to the victims, which turned into a political gathering.

The sentiment was even echoed among supporters of her party with 24 percent saying they “mainly disapprove” and 9 percent saying they “disapprove completely”.


Photo: AFP

Half of French believe France is at war

There is an almost even split in opinion between those who believe France currently finds itself "at war" (53 percent) and those who find the idea exaggerated (47 percent).

Of those who believe France is waging a war, 84 percent agree that it is directed against jihadist terrorism, with roughly two thirds thinking the war can be won.

Some 16 percent think France is at war against Islam in general with 42 percent of those sympathising with the far-right National Front party.

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