(Hastily translated with a couple of glasses of wine in me from Le Figaro, 1.4.2011)
Forty-four percent of French and Germans estimate that islam represents a menace to their national identity, according to a poll conducted by Le Monde. The polls denounce in order the failure of integration of the muslim communities. Only 22 percent of the French and 24 percent of the Germans consider islam an enriching cultural factor. The exception in France is youth aged 18 to 24, 28 percent of whom are concerned about islam. In Germany, however, the most unsettled are youth at 47 percent.
On both sides of the the border, more than two-thirds of those polled denounce above all the lack of integration of the muslim communities.
For the anthropologist Dounia Bouzar, this hardening of attitudes can be attributed to political discourse. On the right and the left, politicians lambaste the islamist aspects which are only advocated by the radical muslims.
However, in Germany, where four million muslims live, of which 2.5 million are of Turkish orign, as in France, the debate on the place of islam in society is at the center of political preoccupations. Chancellor Angela Merkel recently lifted a taboo in affirming that the multicultural model in which different cultures could cohabit harmoniously had completely failed. Adding to the fray was the anti-islamic pamphlet written by an ex director of the German central bank, Thilo Sarrazin, which sold 1.25 million copies.
In France, summer was dominated by the questions of national identity and of the prohibition of wearing the niqab (burka) in public. The weight of the national debate is notably visible on the theme of the niqab in the street. Fifty-nine percent of the public are opposed to it, whereas, in 2003 only 32 percent opposed the niqab.
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