08/18/2006 - When Muslim youth rioted in the suburbs of France late last year, commentators were quick to fault the French "color-blind" assimilation model. "The unrest in France's cities shows that social and policing policy has failed, as well as integration," read the headline on an article in the Economist magazine on November 12, 2005.
But findings from the latest Pew Global Attitudes Survey, which included over-samples of Muslims in four European countries,1 suggest that the French model can claim some success, however mixed. Some aspects of that relative success are especially striking when compared with the attitudes and experiences of Muslims in Great Britain, where police last week foiled a home-grown plot by Islamic terrorists to blow up U.S.-bound airliners.
France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe, an estimated 5 million persons primarily of Algerian and Moroccan extraction (since religion is not tabulated in France's census, no official estimate is available). Similarly, Muslims in Spain are largely of Moroccan extraction. By contrast, Pakistanis predominate among Britain's Muslims along with other ethnicities, while Germany's Muslims are primarily Turkish in origin.
Read the full article The French-Muslim Connection on the Pew Research Center Web site.