May 3, 2007

French Concern About Islamic Extremism

76%

That’s the proportion of the general public in France, where a new president will be chosen on Sunday, who say they are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in their country. A somewhat smaller majority of French Muslims (59%) share that concern.

Among the French population, which will go to the polls on Sunday to choose a new president, fully three in four (76%) told a 2006 Pew poll that they are very or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in France; a somewhat smaller majority of French Muslims (59%) shared that concern. However, despite France’s recent experience with riots, worry about Islamic extremism had remained essentially stable compared with the preceding year. France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe, an estimated 5 million persons primarily of Algerian and Moroccan extraction. But despite high levels of concern about joblessness, the survey found indications that French Muslims generally feel more at home in France than do Muslim populations residing in other European countries surveyed. For example, few Muslims living in France saw a natural conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society. Seven-in-ten French Muslims (72%) perceived no such conflict, a view shared by a virtually identical 74%-share of the French general public. Read More