Tolerance index climbs following Charlie Hebdo and Hyperchacher attacks

The January 2015 attacks have without a doubt had an impact on racism in French society, according to a study conducted in March and released April 9 by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), but it is more positive. The “longitudinal tolerance index” developed in 2008 by Vincent Tiberj, PhD in political science. The indicator shows that since November 2014 tolerance for black people has increased 4 points, with Muslims and North Africans increasing 1.5 points– the margin of error being 1.6 points. As a result one “can only conclude that France has not experienced a large increase in anti-Muslim sentiment.”

The situation is paradoxical. Support for non-European foreigners’ right to vote increased 6 points from 2013 to 2014 and was shared by 43% of Frenchmen. The belief that immigration is a source of cultural enrichment increased 4 points and the rejection of the belief in race increased 8 points compared to 2009.

One aspect of the study evaluated “increasingly serious tension toward Muslims.” The belief that North Africans “form a separate group” decreased in 2014 (38%, 8 points less than in 2013), with a similar statistic for Asians (37%, down 4 points). Black people are perceived as more integrated (25% say they are not) as are homosexuals (18%). However 48% of Frenchmen believe that Muslims “form a separate group,” and 72% believe that “France must remain a Christian country.” Curiously, 1 in 2 Frenchmen believe that it is necessary to support the Muslim faith, but 93% are against women wearing the headscarf (up 5 points since 2010).

The situation remains tense: 86% of those surveyed believed racism is widespread (2 points more than in 2013), even if 43% of Frenchmen believe they “are not racist at all” (an increase for the first time since 2010). However 72% believe that there are too many immigrants. The most intolerant are older people, those from rural areas, the most right-wing voters, and the least educated.