Muslim France ?

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Many forget or were never taught, Europe for some parts were under Muslim rule. Spain was for centuries watch; El Cid or 1492 The Conquest. Hungary, Spain, Southern France even Southern Italy were under the Muslim Banner for centuries some years and months. There was a time when Muslims took over southern France but wasnt so successful. If they were, most likely Europe would have followed and the America's. Intersting but whats happening now. Christian countries population are not growing. Muslims country populations are. France and England have huge Muslim populations. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World for 15 years now. Time to take notice.

Submitted: August 18, 2009

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Submitted: August 18, 2009



A Muslim France?

In the early 8th century, about 100 years after Prophet Muhammad had passed away, Arab armies had seized all of North Africa and crossed the straits of Gibraltar into Europe. The Visigothic Kingdom of Spain quickly fell. Next was the land north of the Pyrenees, inhabited by the Franks, a tribal people of Germanic origin.

These were the ancestors of the modern French. They were led by Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, the greatest of all Franks. The Arabs sent a raiding party across the Pyrenees and into France, penetrating into a region not far from Paris. There they confronted Charles Martel and his army. At the battle of Tours, the Franks won and the Muslim Arabs never again seriously attempted to expand north of the modern French-Spanish border. This small battle was among history’s most significant, as an Arab victory would have meant a Muslim Western Europe.

Almost 1300 years later, the descendents of some of those defeated at Tours appear to be reversing history’s verdict. They are doing so through the peaceful process of immigration. Since the 1960’s, a steady and growing number of North Africans have been moving to France. Almost all come from the former colonies of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The large and rapidly growing Algerian population is the biggest source of these immigrants.

By now, out of a total of about 60 million French, 3 - 5 million are Muslim immigrants, not including the number born and Illgal immigrants. This compares to the 500,000 French Jews. The future trends are even more interesting. Because of further immigration, combined with still high birthrates among the Muslims in France, the French Muslim population is expected to continue to rapidly increase. Within 30 years, it may easily number over 10 million. The francais de souche or “root French”, on the other hand, have a birthrate too low to even maintain their numbers. Islam will clearly be a big part of the French nation.

As most of these immigrants were brought in to do low-skill, low-pay jobs unwanted by indigenous French, the Muslim immigrant communities are poor and have yet to make their mark on the French society. The most prominent French Muslim is Zinedine Zidane, who was born of Algerian parents in Marseilles. He has been lionized by the French for scoring two goals to upset Brazil in the 1998 World Cup Soccer Finals. But for many Muslims, life is hard and lived in public or subsidized housing. Unemployment and drug use are major problems.

This is a major difference between the US and European Muslim communities. Whether it be the Turks in Germany, the Albanians in Italy, the South Asians in Britain, or the Algerians in France, the immigrants were not brought in for their skills or education. The Muslim communities of most European countries, while significant and growing, do not compare in wealth, success, or achievement to the Muslims in America. This only points to our role and responsibility in this country.

The French have a very special conception of themselves that is based on an intense pride in their culture. French culture dominated European culture from 1600 to the late 19th century. Even today, the French tend to look down on boorish Americans while they are envious of America’s wealth and power. This cultural sense of self creates both challenges and opportunities for France’s Muslims. Unlike Germany, the French readily embrace as French anyone who embraces the French culture. On the other hand, the immigrant culture of the Muslims is very different from the French and is resistant, at least so far, to being assimilated. If the Muslims can retain their religion, while entering the mainstream of French culture, then Islam will truly have become French, and France will have become Muslim.

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