France: Marginalisation Of Minorities Causes Alienation And Ethnic Strife

Here is an example of why marginalization of minorities is bad for the whole of society.The largest minority group in France are immigrants from North Africa, namely Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Coming initially from former colonies as cheap labor, they settled in low income run down housing complex in poor suburbs.While the French society puts pressure on immigrants, accepting nothing less than full assimilation (not mere integration), that society never accepts foreigners who have a different language, different religion, different skin color, and different customs.The result is a no-win situation that leaves many youth feeling alienated. They only have mediocre education if any, have no permanent jobs, and have no hope of keeping up. Many succumb to drugs, crime, or religious radicalism.Moreover, some policies of the French government has further ingrained the feeling of ill-will among North African immigrants, such as the banning of the religious headscarf (Hijab). All the above has precipitated the crisis that is unfolding now as violent protests, riots, vandalism, confrontation with security forces, and more alienation, all happening in poor immigrant Paris suburbs these days. The situation is getting worse every day, and you can see coverage of 2005 France Urban Violence on Wikipedia. Here is a brief overview from CBC News with good analysis of the background to these riots. There is a good timeline at the BBC as well. Kuro5hin has a well researched and balanced article too. The French Ambassador to Washington said that it has nothing to do with the role of Islam in France. The riots have also spread to other countries in Europe as well, such as the Netherlands and Belgium. In Canada, we pride ourselves that we are a cultural mosaic, and not a melting pot. Each group retains its cultural identity while being a full member of the larger Canadian society. Integration, and not assimilation, is key. It is sad to observe that this same attitude is present in French speaking Quebec as well.This ethno-religious-linguistic divide has to be bridged. Pretending that all is well and there are no problems is just as bad as alienating the immigrants or deepening the divide by demanding assimilation, sharp rhetoric, and other means.Like freedom and democracy, a multicultural society takes effort from all sides. It will not happen on its own.

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Comments

I disagree with you.

I disagree with you. The French are a soveriegn nation. They should remain white, christian and culturally unchanged by foreigners. Every people should have their own land where they can be by themselves. Including the Palestinians.

You have a point

You have a point of every nation deciding what they want, and whether to admit foreigners or not.

However, your assertion that France should remain "white, christian and culturally unchanged by foreigners" are against the fact there.

First, France identifies itself as secular, and the government has a history of being strongly against religion, since the French Revolution. They did allow freedom of practice though.

Second, the government there has admitted "foreigners" for decades, and granted them citizenship.

One cannot turn around now and say that these are second class citizen because of their skin color, their heritage or their religion.
--
Khalid Baheyeldin

Try being a Christian

Try being a Christian in a islamic country :) Doesn't matter how poor you are if someone kills you and your family. Funny how hypocritical some islamic people can be.

Some examples

I was going to delete this comment, but I'd rather respond to the anonymous hypocrite than ignore it.

First of all, religion is not the sole factor in the French case, there are many others, such as color, culture, upbringing, prejudice, ...etc.

Second, here are some example of oppressed Christians from Muslim countries in recent times.

See Examples of Rich and Influential non-Muslims in Muslim countries.
--
Khalid Baheyeldin

reply

In reply to the previous comment, the rich and influential non-muslims are still obviously natives of that country - read their names, therefore they are not an ethnic minority really, their religion may be different but they follow the same culture. Religion is not a major thing, it is the colour of your skin and your culture. I agree with the first person, in France or England or wherever we should keep our original culture, people who emigrate to our countries are welcome to practice their religion and be themselves as long as they adopt our culture and abide by our rules. We shouldnt just change our culture for people who emigrate. And whether you like it or not, christians are opressed in muslim countries or countries of other religions, in comparison to the equality ethnic minorities enjoy in western countries.

Reply to your reply

You are saying that the rich and non-influential non-Muslims in Muslim countries do not count becausethey are natives? You then contradict what you said by saying that Christians are oppressed. This is not logical.

As far as oppression in Muslim countries, it is happening to everyone, not just Christians. The Islamists are oppressed by imprisonment and exclusion from politics in Egypt, and elsewhere. Even liberals claim that they are excluded. Likewise, the Christians will attribute their perceived ill fortune due to religion.

The fact is, the iron grip on power in these countries do not care who the challenger to their absolute power is, regardless of their religious or political inclination. They see anyone who is politically active as a threat to them, and will oppress them accordingly.

If some of these factions/groups chose to cast their troubles as unique to them because of their religion, then it is shortsightedness and narrowmindedness. To them I say, whether Muslim, Christian, Liberal or Leftist: "the world does not revolve around you. It is better to put your hands with others to get rid of the dictators, and then establish a level playing field for all".

No one said anything about changing the culture (which is too broad a defintion) of the majority to accomodate a minority.

I also agree that the culture of the majority of the country can stay the same, it is just a matter of numbers. The minority should be respected and accomodated within reasonable limits.

Europe had a history of minorities living in them, for example the Jews and Gypsies. They did not change the larger culture, but kept their own.

Remember that I chose to leave the Muslim countries and live in the West, and do not expect Canada to change because of me. Luckily for me, Canada and Canadians are open minded and chose the mosaic model and not the crucible model.

In view of the latest 2006 labor riots in France by young people due to labor law changes, remember that they were French, and not an ethnic or cultural minority. There were still heavy damages, and no one said it was because of ethnic, linguistic or religious issues. It is about inequalities and opportunity and exclusion, whether real or perceived. The French should be the best people to know this since the Bastille Day, and its underlying social causes.
--
Khalid Baheyeldin

French Muslim

Please send them back to saudi arabia or to morocco for the tender loving care of their muslim brethren!

"good muslims" wont speak up against their islamic brethren who kill/torture non-muslim minorities in their country.Mostly a muffled voice- why Islamic country takes the "Sisters of Islam" seriously?

Even in a so-called sane Islamic country like Malaysia there has been recent torching of churches, temples and other place of worship. This was cariied out with the blessing the ruling Muslim party (politcal motive yes)!But how low can professing Muslims in a Muslim majority country can get! Do we need any more proofs.

So long as others are kafirs and kafirs dont deserve to live what can you expect! You have to make amendmends to the Koran that kafirs will be dealt by God (in after -life) and muslims will show compassion to them while they are on earth!

In turn, I disagree with you

I was shocked to readr you mail whoever you are. You said the French should remain white, Christian and culturally unchanged by foreigners.

If there is anything constant in today's world, that is change my friend.

In the Old Stone Age, we had some beliefs and values that have undergone change now. We do not think and behave like primitives. Imagine what happens if an Algerian says all the French should leave Algeria or the French ladies should start wearing Burkhas, all French should behave exactly like the Muslims, what would happen. You went and colonised Algeria, but did you behave like Algerians then? Did you? You were cruel enough, brutal enough to torture them, and then you wanted them to behave like you in their own motherland, and now you don't want them to forget their own culture in France? Why this contradiction? Who do you think you are?

And talking about Christianity, it's a shame that Christ, who had been a symbol of innocence and suffrance, is now converted by His unworthy successors, as a symbol of power. Fundamentally, what Christ said was, 'Hate the sin, not the sinner', and what we are doing is just the opposite, we hate the sinner, but not the sin, becuase we commit it ourselves. Aren't the Muslims, the Hindus doing the same thing? They are. We are in a convoluted world it seems.

It follows therefore that we need to think differently, don't we? My friend, what the World needs now is Systems Thinking. The ability to see the interconnectivity between geographies, histories, cultures, and so on. The Almighty, you call Him Allah, or Christ, or Krishna, or Nanak, or the Infinite Intelligence has given us the fundamentals, the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the oceans, we have divided them in parts, for example there is river that connect France and Switzerland, a river that connects India and Bangladesh, for Him there is no difference, we see them as different, and that is where the challenge lies. It is hih time we realise that Americans, Algerians, French, English, Indians, we have so many charming similarities amongst ourselves, there are more similarites than differences. The question is when should we look at those similarities, physical, mental, spiritual, sociological, situational, and when should we start accepting the differences, and hug each other, kiss each other with child-like simplicity and say how similar we are, so let's enjoy.

Supratik Sen

Yes, we all have precious

Yes, we all have precious children who deserve to grow up without fear. They also deserve to have food and a good life. Sometimes it is hard to assure both for them. Can we think differently. People of different beliefs communicating now is a step. If we continue to do this internationally, to inspire one another to assure that all can have a good life for their children, perhaps at one time the world will have a chance. To be strict and inflexible is to be without love. Religion, sadly, so often has the opposite effect of what it is intended to do. It puts hatred and judgement into our hearts instead of love. Those in power have much to gain from populations fighting each other. We keep ourselves in chains by judging one another. We do their work of oppression for them. It is just that we need to realize that peace and unity is the way to real power.
It is hard to forgive when another person or group has harmed you, but there must be some forgiveness, some love, to put an end to the harm that we do to one another, or else we pass the destruction on to children, who do not need this burden, they deserve to be born free of hatred. We could be making personal sacrifices for love, not destruction.

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