France’s Dilemma (RELS 348)

France’s ideologies of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity date back to the days of the French revolution. But with this being said, many of the new migrants of France do not feel welcomed with open arms such as these ideologies suggest. Many of the youth coming from a Muslim background feel as if the ideologies of France do not apply to them. They do not feel equal, free and a sense of belonging within the community. In the news article “France’s Ideals, Forged in Revolution, Face a Modern Test” by Steven Erlanger, 12 February 2015, we get some insight on life as an immigrant in France.

With population and diversity increasing rapidly throughout France, there has been difficulty for the natives of France to adapt to the new cultural traditions and practices. Muslims are treated unfairly with limiting their resources and opportunities to live a prosperous life. In the Muslim dominant Paris suburb of Clichy Sous Bois the unemployment rate is close to 40% and there has been a shortage of housing. A major cause for the high unemployment rate could possibly be the fact that there are no roads or public transit leading to the center of Paris. With a prosperous city filled opportunities such as Paris only being 10 miles away from Clichy. It seems as if France is trying to seclude its Muslim population from opportunities to better their lives. In no developed country should these types of problems occur. In the article, it is clearly stated that the government has promised to build roads for easier accessibility to Paris, but these empty promises have been going on for close to a decade.

In the recent killing of Charlie Hebdo a cartoonist who created offensive cartoons to the Islamic religion, had brought the nation of France together chanting “Je suis Charlie”. This chant translating to “I am Charlie” brought the nation together but the Muslim community of France had felt offended. Moments of silence were held for Charlie and the Muslim youth rebelled. It is basically a slap in the face from the people of France to the followers of Islam. A Muslim university student told his professor “They don’t respect us, and then during a minute of silence we’re supposed to honor them? How can someone render homage to someone who doesn’t respect us? We can’t.” I would have to agree 100% with this student, Charlie Hebdo made offensive depictions of Islam and being forced to honor someone who has offended your religion is not morally right.

It seems as if France is not ready to house a multicultural community. A country cannot welcome all sorts of people without being able to accept religious differences. France should really figure out ways to keep peace internally within their diverse population. With this being said, I feel as if France should strengthen their immigration rules or these internal battles will plague them for decades and decades to come.




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