French multiculturalism. From Islamization of Radicalism to Radicalization of Islam?

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 6

For many years, there has been a debate in France about the role of Islam in the radicalization of the youth and the growth of social tension in French society where some speak of the “Islamization of radicalism”, minimizing the religious component and focusing on socio-economic factors, such as high unemployment, difficulties in obtaining quality education, lower living standards, in the turbulent suburbs of large cities, while others, on the contrary, believe that there is the “radicalization of Islam”, in which Islamists play a key role. For a long time, the academic community in France adhered to a moderate approach, tending more towards the thesis of the Islamization of radicalism.

However, the brutal terrorist attacks of 2015–2016 in France, the participation of large numbers of jihadists with French passports in the war in Syria and their subsequent return to the Fifth Republic after the collapse of the Islamic State forced serious French research centres to pay closer attention to the activities of radical religious groups in the country.

The article focuses on recent studies that analyze in detail the growing role of fundamentalists, primarily the Salafis. The general tone of these studies and the enormous attention that they have attracted in the media suggest that the controversy between the supporters of the «Islamization of radicalism» thesis and the proponents of the «radicalization of Islam» theory is turning in favour of the latter.

KeywordsFrance, Islam, identity, radicalism, the Fifth Republic
Publication date07.12.2020
Number of characters26314
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