More and more French believe Islam is compatible with society

While the role of Islam in French society has long been a divisive and inflammatory topic a new study suggests people in France are now more accepting of the religion.

More and more French believe Islam is compatible with society
The Grand Mosque in Paris. Photo: AFP
The new survey showed that 56 percent of French people believe Islam to be compatible with the values of French society compared to two years ago when the same percentage believed the opposite to be true. 
Carried out by pollsters Ifop on behalf of Le Journal de Dimanche, the survey however also showed that 43 percent of the country does not think the religion is compatible with life in France (see graph below). 
The survey comes at a time when France is waiting for President Macron to deliver his vision for the role of Islam in French society. 
In an interview with Le Journal de Dimanche in November the president said he wanted “to reorganize Islam in France to better integrate worship, fight fundamentalism and preserve 'national cohesion'.”
In September, a survey that looked at how Muslims themselves felt about their home country showed that Muslims living in France feel a stronger attachment to their country than they do in much of Europe, despite experiencing high levels of discrimination. That study also found that first generation Muslims feel more attached to France than their offspring. 
This week's Journal de Dimanche survey also asked the French what they thought about the creation of a tax on halal products, the revenues of which would be used to finance Muslim worship in France. 
On this point, there was no debate, with the large majority of respondents (70 percent) opposed to the idea and only 29 percent of French people saying they were in favor of a “halal tax”.
In the graph below, the results on the left relate to the question of whether people believe Islam to be compatible with French society while those on the right relate to the question of the “halal tax”.

Ifop survey results: JDD
The subject of Muslim integration in France is one of the country's most hotly debated issues and so it probably doesn't come as a surprise that people's views on this matter varied greatly according to which political party they supported. 
The survey showed that the more left-wing the voter, the more likely they were to consider Islam compatible with French society. 
In total, 73 percent of people who supported France's Socialist party believed Islam to be compatible as did 60 percent of those who supported left-wing party “La France Insoumise” (France Unbowed).
And 58 percent of people who supported French president Emmanuel Macron's Republique en Marche party thought the same. 

The Grand Mosque of Paris. Photo: AFP

At the other end of the political spectrum, among those who support the right-wing Les Republicains party, 63 percent think that the religion is “incompatible with the values ​​of the French society”. 
Somewhat surprisingly, National Front voters were slightly less likely to think of the Muslim religion as incompatible with French society but the figure was still high, at 62 percent. 


French minster orders closure of Cannes mosque over anti-Semitic remarks

France's interior minister said on Wednesday he had ordered the closure of a mosque on the French Riviera because of anti-Semitic remarks made there.

The French riviera town of Cannes
The French riviera town of Cannes. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Gerald Darmanin said the mosque in the seaside city of Cannes was also guilty of supporting CCIF and BarakaCity, two associations that the government dissolved at the end of last year for spreading “Islamist” propaganda.

Darmanin told broadcaster CNews that he had consulted with the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, before shutting down the mosque.

The move comes two weeks after authorities closed a mosque in the north of the country because of what they said was the radical nature of its imam’s preaching.

The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 100 kilometres north of Paris, was shut for six months because the sermons there incited hatred and violence and “defend jihad”, authorities said.

Last October, a mosque in Allonnes, 200 kilometres west of Paris, was closed also for six months for sermons defending armed jihad and “terrorism”, according to regional authorities.

The French government announced last year that it would step up checks of places of worship and associations suspected of spreading radical Islamic propaganda.

The crackdown came after the October 2020 murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who was targeted following an online campaign against him for having shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class.

In the interview on Wednesday, the interior minister said that 70 mosques in France were considered to be “radicalised”.

According to the ministry, there are a total of 2,623 mosques and Muslim prayer halls in the country.