Nearly three French out of four (73%) hold negative views on Islam, a recent survey reveals. The study, commissioned by the research agency Tilder and the Institut Montaigne for the French private broadcaster LCP, was revealed during a TV show called ‘Place aux idées’ (Space for ideas). Contrary to the dominant negative perceptions upon Islam, the majority of French hold favourable views towards Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism. Only 26% shared favourable views about Islam.
Whilst 52% of participants consider Islam to be a religion like any other, 40% think that the presence of Islam in France can be an enriching experience for French culture. Accordingly, 77% judge the Islamic pilgrimage Hajj to be compatible with life in French society. 55% furthermore consider the consumption of halal food, the celebration of Eid-Al-Kebir (51%), the fasting during Ramadan (47%) and the upholding of five prayers a day (36%) perfectly compatible with a sound life within French society. Only 10% consider the Islamic veil, hijab, to be acceptable to be worn in public spaces. Additionally, merely 36% consider Islamic practices to be compatible with French law. Similarly, only 33% state to have deeper knowledge about Islam.
The survey follows a number of recent studies conducted on French societal attitudes towards Muslim communities and Islam in France. The consensus achieved by these numerous studies can be summarized to express a striking and rising amount of prejudice, fear, suspicion and xenophobia directed towards Muslim communities in France.