France: 54% think Islam is compatible with French society

France: 54% think Islam is compatible with French society

A recent survey claimed that the French are getting more and more hostile towards Islam, this one claims that they're more tolerant.


Just a small majority of the French (54%) think that Islam is compatible with life and society in France. While a much bigger majority think that Catholicism and Judaism don't pose a problem (82% and 72% respectively). Le Parisien's exclusive CSA survey shows that Islam has not yet found its place in France.

Jean-Daniel Lévy, director of CSA Opinion, says that the French don't have a problem with the practice of Islam in the private sphere, that is inside one's home, in places of prayer. But public opinion is concerned when the religion becomes very visible in the public space, with the headscarf and minarets, especially in the right context. This was the case today, due to the Swiss referendum on the minarets and the debate in France on national identity.

He sasys that church towers are just as visible and infinitely more numerous than the dozen minarets in France, but they've always been part of the landscape. As for the Jews, one sees a few men wearing a kippa and a few synagogues being built. The real issue is the place of religion in our secular Republic, he says.

CSA, which has conducted surveys on this issue for years, notably for the National Commission on Human Rights, says that in the past twenty years the French have become more tolerant. In 2003, 57% thought that Muslims formed a 'separate group' in France. In 2008 this dropped to 48%.

Men (58%) were more likely than women (51%) to see Islam as compatible with life and society in France. There is a generational divide: 68% of those under 30 thought Islam was compatible, 61% among 3-49 year old, 49% among 50-64 year old, 41% among 65-74 year old and just 36% among those over 75.

69% of those in the liberal professions thought Islam is compatible, compared with 55% among traders and artisans and 54% among workers.

Political parties: Democratic Movement voters were most open to the presence of Islam (77%), followed by the Greens (69%), the Left (66%) and the Right (51%). Unsurprisingly, just 12% of far-Right voters think that Islam is compatible with French society.

Source: Le Parisien (French)

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