Poll suggests that Muslims in France are increasingly devout

News Agencies – August 1, 2011


French newspaper La Croix has released survey data that suggests that there are more practicing Muslims in France than 20 years ago. An IFOP poll shows that 71% France’s Muslims intend to fast for the entire month of Ramadan. The survey suggests that the intention to participate in Ramadan has increased strongly, rising by 10 points since 1989, the date of the first French survey. Fasting is especially prevalent among the 18-24 age group, which also scores highly for visits to places of worship. The picture of the French Muslim population that emerges from the survey is of a “young” (62% are aged under 35) and traditionally left-leaning community. According to the deputy director of the polling agency Ifop, this political bias has been boosted by the recent government sponsored debate on French identity, which alienated many Muslims.

Burqas Banned in French Classes for Immigrants

In two recent legal decisions, head-to-toe burqas have been banned from state-sponsored French language classes. Louis Schweitzer, the head of France’s anti-discrimination agency told La Croix daily that “Religious freedom is not absolute” and they authorities have sought “the most reasonable compromise.” His agency known as Halde ruled last month to ban burqa and niqab from state-sponsored French language classes for immigrants. Halde called the burqa a symbol of “female submission that goes beyond its religious meaning.” Under French law, these classes may be required for application for residency or citizenship in the country.

Earlier in the year, a national agency responsible for such classes complained that the presence of burqa-wearing women “hinders the proper functioning” of such classes.

Limits on the headscarf are not uniform. On October 8 An appeals court fined the owner of a bed and breakfast in the northeastern city of Nancy $6,000 for refusing to welcome two veiled women.

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International Herald Tribune

Le Figaro

Most Muslim Voters in France Lean to the Left

In this short summary of a recent study by the IFOP (Institut Français d’Opinion Publique or the French Institute of Public Opinion) published in La Croix on September 1st, based on a study of 3280 French Muslims between 2003-2008, 51% vote for the PS (Socialist Party). 26.8% of the rest of the French population typically vote for the PS. Including those with sympathies to the extreme left and the ecologist party, more than 73% of those Muslims polled were leftist voters.

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Full-text article available here. (Some news sites may require registration)

Larger 2004 study done by the IFOP on political orientation and Muslims in France available here.

Over 170 preachers to lecture Moroccan expats during Ramadan

Morocco will dispatch over 170 preachers to Europe to provide training and give lectures during the holy month of Ramadan (fasting month) to the Moroccan expatriates, according to a press release of the ministry of Habous (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs. The decision to send 176 preachers, including 100 to France alone, reflects Morocco’s will to “meet the needs of the Moroccan community abroad for spiritual guidance”, “protect them from all kinds of extremism and deviance”, and “foster the values of citizenship in them,” said French daily “La Croix” quoting the document.