Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Bernd Reiter

Keywords

Alienation, Assimilation, Demography, Immigration, Segregation

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The numerous images of violence perpetrated by radicalized followers of Islam, has highlighted the complexities surrounding assimilation and integration of Muslims in Western society. Since the guest worker recruitment from French African colonies initiated after World War II, France has been witness to the unanticipated development of permanent communities of African laborers, many of whom are Muslim. Despite consistent promotion of French monoculture and specifically the use of the assimilation model for integration, segregation of African Muslims has occurred. Through the construction of a single country case study, I explore integration issues surrounding the French Muslim minority communities. I seek to assess the occurrences of segregation among African Muslims, and theorize that process established by the French government for the assimilation and integration of African Muslims into French society has culminated in the formation of segregated African Muslim diaspora communities. This topic was chosen because I possess a general interest in the integration of Muslims into Western society. Due to the broadness of the Muslim population, and given their high visibility I narrowed my focus on African Muslims. Furthermore, this topic was chosen to determine the viability of the French case as an alternative to the failed policies of multiculturalism. Therefore, I examine the assimilation strategy of French Republicanism established in France by the French Revolution of 1789. This thesis is relevant given the rising visibility of Muslims throughout Western society. Furthermore, the increased visibility highlights the position of African Muslim communities in France. The evidence presented in my thesis demonstrates that the presence of segregated African Muslim communities is an unintended consequence of the historical development of French monoculture and colonialism. French assimilation of African Muslims is not a complete failure due to marginal successes of African Muslims in political and economic arenas. Furthermore, the segregation of African Muslims in France does not diminish the viability of assimilation strategy in the overall integration of Muslims into Western society, especially as politicians across the European continent denounce the failed policies of multiculturalism.

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