Warning over France's Islamic suburbs which are becoming 'separate communities in a divided nation'
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 11:56 PM on 6th October 2011
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France's run-down city suburbs are becoming ‘separate Islamic societies’ cut off from the state, a report has warned.
Arab communities are increasingly rejecting French values and identity to immerse themselves in Muslim culture and lifestyle, it was found.
Muslim pupils often boycott school dinners if the food is not halal and most Arabs oppose marriages to white French citizens, the study by respected political scientist Gilles Kepel revealed.
As a result, France – whose five million Muslims make up Europe’s largest Islamic population – was turning into a ‘divided nation’, the study called Suburbs of the Republic found.
Dr Kepel wrote: ‘In some areas, a third of the population of the town does not hold French nationality, and many residents are drawn to an Islamic identity rather than simply rejecting or failing to find a secular one.
‘French schools, which are rigorously non-religious, have traditionally been seen as having the role of training young citizens of the republic.
But local officials say Islamic pupils are heading home for a halal lunch.
‘Most people in France do not object to mixed marriages, but in the suburbs we were surprised to find a very large proportion of Muslim respondents said they were opposed to marriages with non-Muslims.’
The study was commissioned by the Institut Montaigne think-tank. It will make recommendations to the government in January.