With the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, France has faced a number of critiques in its attempts to assimilate Muslims into an ostensibly secular (but predominantly Catholic) state and society. This book challenges traditional analyses that emphasise the conflict between Muslims and the French state and broader French society, by exploring the intersection of Muslim faith with other identities, as well as the central roles of Muslims in French civil society, politics and the media.
The tensions created by attacks on French soil by Islamic State have contributed to growing acceptance of the Islamophobic discourse of Marine Le Pen and her far-right Front National party, and debates about issues such as headscarves and burkinis have garnered worldwide attention. Downing addresses these issues from a new angle, eschewing the traditional us-and-them narrative and offering a more nuanced account based on people’s actual lived experiences. French Muslims in Perspective will be of interest to students and scholars across sociology, politics, international relations, cultural studies, European Studies and French studies, as well as policy makers and practitioners involved in immigration, education, and media.