The French are more tolerant of Muslims than before, indicates a recent report by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH). Muslims “remain, however, one of the least accepted minorities,” the Commission found.
Admittedly, 81% of respondents believed that “French Muslims are French like anyone else,” and 82% said “it is necessary to allow the Muslims of France to exercise their religion in favorable conditions.” The number of Islamophobic acts is at its lowest in three years, the closest it has been to levels before the 2015 attacks.
But in 2017 there was also an increase (+7.5%) in “actions” (killings, attacks and attempted attacks, fires, violence) counted by the Central Territorial Intelligence Service (SCRT). Threats include words, threatening gestures and insulting demonstrations, writings, leaflets and letters.
“The rise of radical Islamism, the multiplication of attacks committed on its behalf, and the debates around religious symbols in the public sphere, have gradually placed Islam at the heart of the political debate, helping to create a general malaise within society,” the Commission acknowledged.
This malaise translates into beliefs such as “Islam is a threat to the French identity” (44% of respondents). 61% believed that wearing the veil might “pose a problem for living in society,” and 33% believed that the sacrifice of a lamb for Eid Al Adha and daily prayer (30%) were incompatible with French society.
Finally, it is not so much an attachment to secularism or women’s rights that are put forth to justify anti-Muslim sentiment, but more often a distrust of immigrants: “Certainly, there are some people who are concerned about the practices of the Islam without being hostile to immigrants, but they are in the minority (15% of the total sample) and half as many as those who reject both immigrants and Islam,” explains the CNCDH.
Click here to read the full report in French.