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Islam and the European Empires$
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David Motadel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199668311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668311.001.0001

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Islam and the French Empire in North Africa

Islam and the French Empire in North Africa

Chapter:
(p.90) 4 Islam and the French Empire in North Africa
Source:
Islam and the European Empires
Author(s):

Julia Clancy-Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668311.003.0005

This essay analyzes the different, often contradictory ways in which French colonial regimes in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco dealt with, legislated, and accommodated ‘Islam’ and Muslims. The scholarly literature tends to homogenize France’s rule over Muslim societies of the Maghrib, with the exception of the Berbers. However, ‘Algerian Islam’ became normalized during the nineteenth century so that a new religion and political target was created. In contrast, the colonial literature generally did not evoke similar constructions of ‘Tunisian Islam’. Yet colonial anthropologists and officials created a ‘Moroccan Islam’, which differed considerably from its Algerian counterpart. The chapter seeks to uncover complex webs of local political arrangements as well as the struggles and compromises that characterized the governance of Islam in French North Africa. It also takes account of non-Muslims: Catholic Italians and Maltese in Tunisia, and various communities of Moroccan Jews and of ‘Berbers’.

Keywords:   France, French, Islam, Muslim, empire, religion, imperialism, colonialism

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