What makes muslims feel French?

Rahsaan Maxwell, Erik Bleich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article, we analyze the extent to which Muslims self-identify as French. A common interpretation of Muslim political attitudes assumes that Islam fundamentally conflicts with mainstream European society and that when Muslims are more attached to their religion they will be less likely to identify as French. We examine this assumption by exploring whether Muslim national identification is more strongly related to religiosity or other factors such as socio-economic status, social networks, and immigrant integration. Our results offer some support for each explanation, but we find that religiosity is not the dominant force shaping Muslims' attitudes. Instead, factors associated with immigrant integration have the most profound relationship with Muslim identification. These conclusions are supported by the fact that religiosity and immigrant integration variables have similar effects on the national identification of Christian immigrants. Our findings suggest that focusing on religiosity is not the best way to analyze Muslims' attitudes or identities, and that tensions surrounding Muslims' self-identification with France are likely to decrease in future generations, as immigrant integration proceeds through the increased prevalence of birth in France, having French citizenship, and French language fluency.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)155-179
    Number of pages25
    JournalSocial Forces
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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