Muslims Remain Very Attached to Collective Rituals

It is generally said that France is home to 5 million Muslims. In reality, however, no one has counted them, because ethnic and religious census questions are forbidden. The last projections made by poller Michele Tribalat (on the basis of INED’s family surveys in 1999) put the estimation at more like 4 million Muslims living in France. But the alleged Muslim population level has grown unceasingly in the past few years. Some even put the number at 10 million, obviously confusing national origin with religion. Up to now, most people coming from the Maghreb, from Senegal, Mali, Turkey, and Pakistan have effectively considered themselves Muslims. But the last firm survey, taken from a large population samble by Cevipof, shows an increasing gap between national origin and religious practice, especially among those born in France of North African origin. In 2005, 35% of this population declared themselves to have no religion. The process of secularization has been set in motion…