Monday, 17 October 2011

This is another of the articles Le Monde published last week in response to the Gilles Kepel report, highlights only.
Let us recall that the districts targeted by the Institut Montaigne are characterised by an unprecedented demographic transformation. Between 1968 and 2005, the share of young people of foreign origin (at least one of whose parents was born abroad) went from 22% to 76% in Clichy-sous-bois and 29% to 55% in Montfermeil. This dramatic demographic change is a fundamental point. A majority of these young people are Muslim or of Muslim origin.

...It has to be said that we have greatly deceived ourselves in this matter. Convinced pf the superiority of the republican model, compared to the communitarian Anglo-Saxon model, we have long nurtured illusions about the capacity of the Republic to continue, as in the past, with its "republican assimilation".

The reality is that since the end of the 1970s, this assimilationnist model was abandoned when the nature of immigration changed, becoming family-based and non-European (many coming from Muslim countries). While we were continuing to take pride in the level of mixed marriages, the habits of avoidance were exploding.

Today, cultural separatism is the norm. It is not just a question of social separatism but cultural separatism first of all. Worse, it is striking at the heart of the working classes. Now, the working classes of foreign origin and of French origin and those of more distant immigrant origin no longer live in the same areas. The residential or educational strategies involve a majority of French people; all are looking to erect invisible cultural frontiers. In this context, the fable of mixed marriages does not convince many people and this all the more because the most recent figures indicate a strengthening of endogamy and, particularly, religious homogamy.

The republican promise that wanted "the Other", with time, to melt into the same cultural ensemble, has had its day. In a multicultural society, "the Other" remains "the Other".

by Christophe Guilluy, geographer
Source: Le Monde


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