Muslims ‘not persecuted’ in France, says country’s Muslim council

President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, urged French Muslims on Monday to “defend the interests” of the nation. (AFP/File)
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Updated 26 October 2020

Muslims ‘not persecuted’ in France, says country’s Muslim council

PARIS: Muslims are “not persecuted” in France, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said Monday as a row over radical Islam and freedom of speech pits some Muslim nations against Paris.
“France is a great country, Muslim citizens are not persecuted, they freely construct their mosques and they freely practice their religion,” said the council, which acts as an official go-between for the state and observant Muslims.
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to take the fight to Islamist radicals after the Oct. 16 beheading of a history teacher who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils in a class discussion on free speech.
But a backlash against his comments saw protests in Muslim-majority countries over the weekend, with people burning pictures of Macron in Syria and setting fire to French flags in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Boycotts of French goods are under way in supermarkets in Qatar and Kuwait, with further calls to spurn French products in Jordan, Turkey and other states.
The head of the CFCM, Mohammed Moussaoui, urged French Muslims on Monday to “defend the interests” of the nation in the face of the international outcry.
“We know that the promoters of these campaigns say they defend Islam and the Muslims of France, we urge them to be reasonable... all the smear campaigns against France are counterproductive and create division,” he said.
Regarding cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed, viewed as offensive by many Muslims, Moussaoui said French law gave people “the right to hate” the cartoons.
But he said he supported the stance of Macron, who has vowed France would never relinquish cartoons or the right to mock religion.
Representatives of the CFCM are to meet Macron at the Elysee Palace later Monday.


How the Arab News survey of French people of Arab origin was conducted

Updated 22 sec ago

How the Arab News survey of French people of Arab origin was conducted

  • Arab News en Francais-YouGov poll was based on sample of nearly 1,000 people spread across five age groups
  • A very large proportion of the respondents identified their country of origin as Algeria, followed by Morocco

DUBAI: As a wave of Islamist attacks hit France, Arab News en Francais commissioned YouGov, the leading online polling company, to conduct a study to provide answers to the recurrent phenomenon.

The survey was based on a sample of nearly 1,000 respondents living in France, spread across five age groups, six countries of origin, three types of residential areas, five categories of employment and three educational levels. The aim was to ascertain the sense of inclusion and level of integration of French Arabs and Muslims in French society.

The survey covered a sample of 52 percent of women and 48 percent of men, across five age groups: 18-24 years (15 percent); 25-34 years (31 percent); 35-44 years (32 percent); 45-54 years (14 percent); and 55 years or older (8 percent).

A large proportion of the respondents identified their country of origin as Algeria (43 percent). The other prominent countries of origin were Morocco (32 percent), Tunisia (14 percent), Lebanon (3 percent), Egypt (2 percent) and other Arab states (6 percent).

The working status of the respondents fell into the following categories: 65 percent employed; 10 percent unemployed; 8 percent students; 3 percent retired; and 14 percent others. Of the respondents, 49 percent live in large cities, 39 percent in medium cities and 12 percent in rural areas.

The sample included people of various education levels: 20 percent do not hold a bachelor’s degree; 24 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent; and 55 percent hold a higher education degree.

The findings show that 65 percent said they would support the French values of secularism in their home country. An even higher number, 80 percent, of respondents over 45 years of age supported this opinion. If the majority of respondents defended the French secular model, less than half (46 percent) opposed the same model in Arab countries.