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Halal Affiliate Program
Islam in France

Last Updated on August 17, 2021

Islam is the second largest religion in France and the Muslim population is one of the largest in Western Europe. About 70 percent of them have a direct affiliation and cultural connection with the North African countries, especially Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and a large number of them are now French citizens.

The majority of Muslims are concentrated in major cities, in Paris, Marseille, BordWaterx, Lyon and Strasbourg, to name a few. Statistics from the French Ministry of the Interior for 2014 indicate that France has more than 2,000 mosques or places of worship for Muslims. The French Council of the Muslim Faith, established in 2003, is considered the authority that regulates the relationship with the state and the French government regarding issues of concern to Muslims in France, such as building mosques and training imams.

Total population: 62.3 million
Muslim population (2016): 5.72 million

Islam in France

Well- known Muslim figures have emerged in the fields of finance, business, culture, and scientific research, and have made positive contributions to the French society.

However, the percentage of Muslim politicians remains small, although a number of them held government positions in recent years, such as Rachida Dati, who was the first Muslim to reach the highest ranks of power and served as Minister of Justice from 2007 to 2009, along with Najat Falou Belkacem, Minister for Women’s Rights and Official Spokesperson of the government during the period from May 2012 to April 2014, when she was appointed Minister of Women’ s Rights, City Affairs, Youth Affairs, and Sports.

On August 26, 2014, she was appointed Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research, becoming the first woman to hold this position in the history of the French Republic.

The growth of this Muslim community challenged the French model of strict separation between religion and public life. Since 2004, religious symbols have been banned in schools, including the Islamic headscarffrom elementary school to high school. Many French Muslims complain of high unemployment rates and housing conditions, with a large number of them living in marginalized suburbs. The ban on religious symbols in public schools led to a major national controversy, as it was widely seen as a restriction of religious freedoms for Muslim communities, especially the ban on the headscarf. Late 2005 witnessed widespread riots that erupted mainly among immigrant
communities throughout France and lasted for a long time.

Studies have shown that Muslims are treated unfairly with regard to obtaining work, and it was evident that failure to integrate into the labor market is a stumbling block to achieving integration into society. The 2017 report issued by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights indicated that Muslims living in France, as well as in other European Union countries, faced discrimination on a wide range of subjects, especially when looking for work, during the course of work, and when trying to obtain public or private services



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