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Muslims in the WestFrom Sojourners to Citizens$
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Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148053

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148053.001.0001

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Islam in France: The Shaping of a Religious Minority

Islam in France: The Shaping of a Religious Minority

Chapter:
(p.36) 2 Islam in France: The Shaping of a Religious Minority
Source:
Muslims in the West
Author(s):

Jocelyne Cesari

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148053.003.0003

Islam is now commonly considered to be the second largest religion in France behind Christianity. Accepting this demographic reality has never been easy for many French citizens. Too often, discussions about Islam in France begin and end with a treatment of Muslims as a social problem. The West has stereotyped Islam as a strange religion, completely different from Christianity or Judaism, even though it is now firmly well-established within most western countries. Western perceptions are still based upon “essentialized” images of a violent and changeless Islam, holdovers from the colonial past. Though inaccurate, they still provide the basis for Western understandings of those situations that involve Muslims. Samuel Huntington, for example, still posits a static vision of Islamic civilization and a unique Muslim psyche that compels conformity to Islamic law in all places at all times—as though Muslims were a species unto themselves.

Keywords:   Islam, religion, France, Christianity, Muslims, Judaism, Samuel Huntington

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