Libmonster ID: U.S.-1467
Author(s) of the publication: V. EDUARDOV

Anyone who has ever been to Paris could not help but notice: the Champs-Elysees is not only the most beautiful street in the French capital, but also the busiest urban thoroughfare. Literally everyone knows it. Anyone who has ever walked down this street can't help noticing that the vast majority of people on the Champs-Elysees did not look like "white" Frenchmen, but rather black or, at the very least, dark-skinned immigrants from Africa or Asia. And on any other street, the picture is unlikely to change...

One can't help but get the impression that modern Paris is a city inhabited mainly by Muslim Arabs and Africans. Although it is more correct to say that this is a truly international city, where representatives of various peoples, civilizations and cultures live and communicate side by side. But most of them are still Arabs. And if you live in Paris longer, you will come to the conclusion that the Arabs are firmly entrenched here, and most likely forever.

Well, if you get to some suburban area of Paris, the picture will become frightening at all: everything around is very similar to a residential quarter in some Algerian or Moroccan city. It's as if you've somehow unwittingly found yourself in North Africa. There is a traditional vegetable market, and Arab shops, which are full of goods, as if yesterday brought from the hinterland of some Arab country. Above the entrance to the butcher shop, as a rule, there is a sign that says "halal" in Arabic - "allowed by Sharia law". And anyone who has at least a little experience of communicating with Arabs, it becomes clear that the meat of animals that is offered for sale is cut up in the way that is customary in accordance with Muslim traditions. And if you carefully look at everyone who walks along the street, you will hardly be able to find at least one "real" Frenchman among the pedestrians. Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians, Africans, Arabs from the Middle East-who are not here!.. True, there are women without burqas among the pedestrians, but there are not many of them-both elderly and young.

"INVALID" USERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER

In the northern suburbs of Paris, you may even get the impression that the French capital is a city where only Arabs and Muslims from non-Arab countries live. Only Muslims live here - those who practice other religions do not visit these areas. True, sometimes you can accidentally meet someone from the" white-skinned " people who are obviously not of African or Asian origin, but their visit, as a rule, was arranged in advance by one of the local residents.

Metro trains don't run in these neighborhoods, and taxis don't come often. When you try to negotiate with a taxi driver to take you to this area, he starts asking for a long time how to get there, where the entrance is, which route is best to go... And the driver usually has a thousand reasons to cancel the trip. However, some taxi drivers are treacherously betrayed

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"road guides" lying on the front seat. But then the driver starts to dig through the maps for a long time and "can't" find on them the house where the passenger wants to go. And when he, naturally, apologetically announces that he does not know how to find the desired address, you willy-nilly have to contact another taxi driver. But the same thing happens there-it's happened to me many times.

Once, however, I managed to persuade the driver to take me to the "Arab" area. But I wish I hadn't. Our journey lasted almost an hour, we stopped more than once, the driver asked pedestrians how best to get to the place we needed. And when the car finally stopped, both the driver and I were the center of intense attention - dozens of eyes were looking at us with bewilderment and surprise.

Looking around, I immediately realized that I was in a different, truly Islamic world. The first "native" I stopped quite seriously stated that there are more than a million Muslims living in the quarter. And at the same time, he added that there are many such quarters and there are already entire cities in France that are almost identical in appearance and lifestyle to the settlements from which the people living there came.

IS THERE A CITY IN THE COUNTRY WITHOUT MUSLIMS?

It is unlikely that today in France you can find any locality in which it would be impossible to meet a Muslim, and a local resident who is rooted here. Some "broke out" in notable and well-known throughout the country people. In the city of Lille, for example, Tokia Seifi, a minister in the French government, was born. Her father, an Algerian by birth, worked in a blacksmith shop. There are many Muslim immigrants in Lille. Often there are women in a traditional Muslim dress-hijab. There are many mosques or simply houses that the faithful use for prayer meetings.

By the way, so far, for various reasons, Muslims refrain from building large mosques, such as, for example, the mosque in Paris - the oldest in France. For performing religious rites, they often use large halls that are available at various enterprises: factories, factories, and companies where they work.

Currently, there are at least 1,100 officially unregistered mosques in France, created by the believers themselves. As a rule, they gather for prayer at the usual time for all Muslims. In the vicinity of some huge hall, the French have to observe a picture that is still unusual for them: people, many people, are walking with small steps from different directions, as if afraid to stumble. They spend some time there, and then just as calmly return home or to work with a sense of accomplishment.

In the city of Montbalay, there is a fairly large mosque, which became known as the Ibn Sina Mosque. It can accommodate almost 2 thousand worshippers at the same time. In the city itself, there are about 50 thousand Muslims.

..Marseille, a major port city on the Mediterranean coast, has been serving as the "southern gateway" to France for Arab immigrants for several decades. According to official figures, there are now about 300,000 Muslims in Marseille, mostly from Algeria. In some quarters, they behave exactly as they do at home, in their homeland, observing all the traditions characteristic of the Arabs of North Africa. Algerian women usually wear black robes, so long and wide that they completely hide the figure. Sometimes on the head of a woman you can see a huge dish, pot, tray or any other object of household utensils. And she carries it like a circus performer, not supporting the object with her hands, but skillfully balancing her head. Sometimes it seems that Marseille is a kind of "branch" of the North African Oran, where representatives of numerous Algerian tribes live.

SECOND ISLAMIC INVASION

Here it is appropriate to recall that Algeria was under the rule of France for more than a hundred years, which, of course, most of its inhabitants did not like. During the long-standing struggle of Algerians for independence in the country, however, there was a movement "Amazigh", which put forward a demand for the voluntary annexation of Algeria to France. Naturally, the majority of French people liked the Algerians from Amazigh. And the native inhabitants of the European country had nothing against the migration of labor from North Africa to France. Moreover, such migration helped to satisfy France's need for cheap labor. Car factories "Renault", "Peugeot" and others willingly accepted those who came to work from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

Thus, in modern history, the Muslims seem to have invaded France again, but this time in a peaceful way, without resorting to weapons, as it was in the early Middle Ages. This was a very special, previously unknown method of entering a foreign country with the least loss and cost. The newcomers were greeted warmly. History has never known such meetings before. But she knew something else: the Frankish general Charles Martel stopped the Arab invasion of France in 722 after the bloody battle of Poitiers. However, who remembers this now?..

Today, France has the largest Muslim community in Europe. In a country with a population of about 59 million, there are between 4 and 5 million people. muslims. The most numerous of the diasporas in the country with-

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They are mostly Algerians (700-800 thousand). They are slightly outnumbered by Moroccans (about 600 thousand). The Tunisian diaspora numbers 300-400 thousand. Relatively small communities are formed by immigrants from other countries of the Arab East, as well as from Iran and Pakistan. A separate group consists of native French who have converted to Islam. According to some sources, there are from 30 to 50 thousand of them in the country. However, most of them are not pure-blooded Europeans by origin, but mestizos and descendants of immigrants from Asia and Africa in the third or fourth generation.

There are 5 cathedral mosques and more than 1.5 thousand ordinary mosques and prayer halls in the country. Over 2,000 Islamic associations, religious and cultural centers, and various Islamic political movements are officially registered in France. Migration has a serious impact on many processes taking place in the country, primarily on social ones.

With the rapid and almost uncontrolled growth of Muslim immigrants in France, the question of banning migrants from North Africa and other geographical areas has never been raised. The country is gradually forming a pronounced Arab ethnic group, an ethnic minority, which, however, is not yet perceived as a full-fledged part of French society, with all the consequences that follow from this.

INSTEAD OF ABSORPTION-REJECTION

As for the dynamics of the process of Arabs finding themselves on a new ground, it is paradoxical, but a fact: over time, when, it would seem, the process of absorption should have overcome the process of rejection from the national Arab, everything happened and is happening exactly the opposite. At first, most Arabs were opposed to isolation from the new society. But, given the attitude of the indigenous population towards them, they gradually came to the conclusion: no one will protect Muslim Arabs except themselves in this country.

Multiculturalism, in which the Arab immigrant community could actually enjoy equal rights with all the other national communities that make up the French nation, would certainly manifest itself if the Arabs fully accepted its core values. The labor migration of Arabs to France was economically necessary and profitable for the country, but at the same time, too large a scale of migration could not but lead to so-called "demographic aggression", as well as "defensive racism", and give rise to various kinds of conflicts.

The Muslim presence in France dates back hundreds of years and dates back to the eighth century. When the Muslims conquered the Iberian peninsula - Andalusia, their troops invaded the territory of France. They succeeded in conquering Nice, creating a Muslim province in the south of the country, which became part of Andalusia. Under the rule of the Arabs at the beginning of the IX century. was the island of Corsica, where they held out for 124 years. However, the south of France did not belong to the Arabs for long. The French launched a counter-offensive, and the few Arab detachments could not resist them-so ended the first stage of the Muslim presence in the country. The next stage is connected with the Crusades - this is the movement of the French themselves to the East.

In 1870-1871, the first Algerian traders arrived in France, followed by workers. At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of immigrants from the Maghreb countries in France was, according to some scientists, almost half a million, 175 thousand of them called themselves Algerians. France has welcomed hundreds of people into its fold

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thousands of displaced people from Arab countries, primarily Algerians (especially Kabyles), who left their homeland in search of earnings. And soon Muslims became the second largest religious group in the country after Catholics. France pursued a very liberal immigration policy, widely advertising in its former colonies the possibility of quick employment in the event of moving to France. By the 1970s, Arab migration had become so widespread that French authorities decided to record and document incoming migrants.

As early as the 1980s, the country faced an acute problem of developing and implementing a special policy for immigrants. But it is one thing to proclaim an official policy, and quite another to implement it based on the economic and social situation of the new citizens of the country. Muslims in France, judging by the publications in the press of Arab and other countries, often faced all sorts of unfriendly attacks, harassment, manifestations of religious intolerance, outbreaks of racist xenophobia. All these chauvinistic acts were manifested primarily by the French, who left Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia after these states became independent. The French, who returned to their homeland, for a very long time carried in their hearts a feeling of hatred for the North Africans, who were mostly Muslims. The latter felt hostility and reacted to it by organizing various associations whose activities were focused not only on spreading Islam, but also on recognizing the place of Islam in the life of the country. The very possibility of practicing Islam was considered as the basis for preserving the identity of North Africans. In 1985. The National Federation of Muslims of France and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France were established. The latter quickly became very influential, as it managed to unite more than 200 "local" associations - "Young Muslims of France", "Muslim Students of France", "French League of Muslim Women" and others. The Union of Islamic Organizations of France directs the work of the Saint-Leger Fougere European Institute for the Humanities, which trains religious personnel.

LE PEN IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN TERROR

Numerous Muslim organizations are opposed by individual French right-wing parties, primarily the party headed by the notorious Le Pen. However, despite the popularity that Le Pen enjoys among some of the French population, preaching nationalism and inciting hostility to Muslim immigrants, the overwhelming majority of French people believe that such a policy is very dangerous for the future of their native country, which was and should remain the center of attraction for the countries of North Africa. Any incitement to ethnic hatred is dangerous because of conflicts and a decline in the international prestige of a country that has always claimed to be one of the world's geopolitical and geocultural centers.

In France, there are organizations that declare their negative attitude towards Islam and often portray Arabs and Muslims as outsiders, as enemies of the French. Since 1981, the French governments have taken various measures one after another, which in one way or another were directed against the civil and political freedoms of the Arabs in the country, which led to an increase in nationalism and discontent among the latter. Part of the media began to accuse the Arabs of being part of the forces that gave rise to terrorism around the world. Such accusations could not but lead to the emergence of hostility towards Arabs among some French people, and the spread of a negative attitude towards traditional Islam in French society.

Right-wing elements in the country have spared no effort to use all possible means and methods to distort the true image of Islam, its centuries-old roots in the life of the peoples of many countries, and its connection with the foundations of popular life. Many of the crimes that were committed in France, the authorities were quick to attribute primarily to Muslims. French officials at various levels have often stated that they fear the growth of the Muslim community in the country. They argued that Muslims, unlike other immigrants, almost do not dissolve in French society, thereby creating tension and anxiety in the entire French society.

The source of conflict is largely due to the critical level of economic situation of migrants, as well as their socio-psychological discomfort. Many migrants fall under the influence of people who preach extremism and fundamentalism and are ready to justify and support the use of terror and violence to strengthen the position of Muslim circles in the country.

In addition to the danger of terror from radical Islam, there is a danger associated with the tendency of overpopulation. In some cities, people are tired of living in poor conditions and are ready to solve their problems not through negotiations, but through violence. And this should not be ignored. It is necessary to know well and carefully study the circumstances that encourage people to take the path of violence - political, economic, social. If you have a clear understanding of what terror is and what causes it, it will be easier to fight it.


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V. EDUARDOV, Events in France. NON-FRENCH FRENCHMEN. THE NORTH AFRICAN DIASPORA IN FRANCE AND ITS PROBLEMS // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 10.06.2024. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/Events-in-France-NON-FRENCH-FRENCHMEN-THE-NORTH-AFRICAN-DIASPORA-IN-FRANCE-AND-ITS-PROBLEMS (date of access: 23.06.2024).

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