Marseillais: 'Muslim culture is definitively taking over the lower levels of society'

Marseillais: 'Muslim culture is definitively taking over the lower levels of society'

Via National Geographic:
What worries some Marseillais is not the caricature of Talibanization invoked by right-wing extremists but what they see as the creeping Islamization of the city's largely working-class population—and not only those issus de l'immigration. "I think that Muslim culture is definitively taking over the lower levels of society," says Michèle Teboul, of CRIF. "There are many mixed marriages with Muslims."

"That's real integration," I say.

"That depends," says Teboul. "It depends if there is a mixture of the two cultures and not one culture gaining the upper hand over another," she says. In France, as she sees it, the institutionalization of secularism and the prevalence of political correctness have weakened the value systems in society and left people without any strong sense of tradition. "Loving your homeland, loving your country, having values— whether religious or other—has been put aside by the politically bien-pensant, and that has helped to break up families that no longer have points of reference, especially those that are underprivileged." Islam, says Teboul, offers a structure to the lives of many people who feel they are adrift. "I'm convinced of that," she says.

Many young Muslim men and women would be surprised to hear of Teboul's concerns. Holding on to Islamic traditions seems a lost cause, or a pointless one, to those who live in a hybrid world of mixed cultures. Their political voice is minimal. An old guard descended from earlier waves of immigrants dominates the local political machines. Italian names abound; Arab ones do not. At the national level almost all of the Muslims that Paris will listen to on Muslim issues, when it listens at all, were not born in France.

"The great paradox is that we who were born here are not recognized," says Djellil. "We have a French culture, we went to French schools, we have a lot of the same demands as our friends who are named Jean-Pierre or Frank," he says. "There's a real generational problem."