The book is divided in three parts : the first one raises the question of how it is to be Muslim in France. The second part comes to the history of muslims citizens' integration. Finally, the third part focuses on political issues linked with Islam. The authors start by reminding that Islam is the second religion in France: there are 5 billion people from Muslim origin (which is an approximative figure, as it is forbidden to do polls implying ethnic origin ). This population is homogeneous insofar as there is a great geographic and ethnic diversity ( Arabs, Berbers, West Africans etc), not to mention the degree of faith. France welcomes a third of the Muslims in Europe. Besides, the increase in the Muslim population ( seen as a threat by some ) is overestimated.
After those figures, the book focuses on the difficult notion of integration : for some, it means participation (political ..), for others it means the changes that occur within the integrating population ( such as the use of French etc). For the 2nd of 3rd generation, it is highly complicated because they were born in France and have lived in France, they don't understand why they should change in any way, they feel French and don't understand why they should « abandon » a part of their identity. What is to be remembered is that unemployment rate is twice as high as the whole population, that most of the Muslims are living in poor districts but not « ghettos » ( there is not a single ethnic group ).
Immigrants in specific zones entails a feeling of isolation that creates the root for higher criminality rate. Despite these negative aspects, there is a good integration of Muslim immigrants, with the use of French language, inter-communities' marriages etc. The question is: Do they feel French? Mediatic events such as the victory of Le Pen in the first round of the presidential elections in 2001 tend to make us feel that they don't, whereas polls sound more optimistic. In fact, these two aspects are real, they depend on geographical and social factors.
[...] For the 2nd of 3rd generation, it is highly complicated because as they were born in France, have lived in France, they don't understand why they should change in any way, they feel French and don't understand why they should abandon a part of their identity. What is to be remembered is that unemployment rate is twice as high as the whole population's one, that most of the Muslims are living in poor district,s but not ghettos ( there is not a single ethnic group Physical concentration of immigrants in specific zones entails a feeling of isolation that creates the root for higher criminality rate. [...]
[...] The authors explain that integration has mor or less nothing to do with terrorism: what is important is the political awareness and the contact with fundamentalist groups ( Salafists in France IN order to illustrate it, the authors take the example of Zacharias Moussaoui. To fight against it, France is quite efficient ( more than its neighbours which made people fear that the government would be repressive towards Muslims. There have been some excesses, but paradoxically, Muslim organization didn't react that much. [...]
[...] The book clearly stand that there is no Muslim vote that would influence diplomacy ( especially concerning the Iraqi crisis Yet, even if it doesn't exist, it influences political answers ( integrate Muslim leaders etc Besides, this fictional Muslim vote becomes, in a way, real, at the local level, especially in areas where immigrants are numerous. On the international level, it seems that French Muslims are not interested in these issues, according to some polls. The study of Muslims as a community, and against other communities (especially Jews ) is highly interesting : this issue is raised in chapter 9. [...]
[...] In an other chapter, they also clearly and objectively analyze the ins and outs of anti-semitism. The other big quality of this book is that it avoids clichés. Let's take a example : terrorism is really often a ground for common views and mistakes, even among intellectuals. In this book, the emergence of terrorists is really well assessed and explained : the authors show that terroritst are not always young people coming from poor socio-economical background, but that there are other reasons ( which are even though practical and that we can analyze). [...]
[...] Therefore, the authors have been very clever when they chose the title of their book, and the way they analysed these issues : they have been beyond clichés about Islam, but didn't fall in the opposite excess, namely not taking into account the Muslim part of Arab immigrant in France. They presented Islam as a mix of religion ( that is to say, faith ) and tradition, and properly assessed the importance of Islam in the Arabo-muslim immigrants in France. [...]
using our reader.