France: Muslims feel sting of discrimination

France: Muslims feel sting of discrimination

In a related story: Two Muslim women marched out of swimming pool in French holiday village because they were wearing burkinis

Via LA Times:

Be patient. This is just a phase. It will all blow over eventually. That's what Abdel Basset Zitouni tells the young people who come seeking his advice on getting a job or starting a business.

But Zitouni's counsel isn't just in response to questions about finding work in a depressed economy.

Many of the people who knock on his office door are Muslims from the housing projects in this city west of Paris who have felt the sting of discrimination.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

They tell of an unwelcoming professional world, with regular bank rejections for business loans, or months without a callback for an interview.

Zitouni, who presides over the nonprofit National Assn. for Young Entrepreneurs here, says it is common to hear of employers asking new hires to change their names to something more "French-sounding" and less Muslim, apparently to appease touchy customers.

Others climb the sparse stairway to Zitouni's single-room office with fists still clenched, mulling over a snide look after handing in a resume.

Zitouni reassures, and listens to their troubles.

Still, the 49-year-old prefers not to focus on the negative. If clients complain of discrimination, Zitouni stops them short.

"Serious and honest work will always bear fruit at the end," he tells them.

But not all of France's roughly 6 million Muslims are in the mood to be patient.

Muslim organizations and some critics of President Nicolas Sarkozy's government have condemned a cocktail of events that have made this a particularly tense time for Muslims in France, with violence against them rising sharply in the last year.


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