Title: Muslims in France
Author: Tariq Ramadan
Publication: The Islamic Foundation 1999
ISBN: 0 86037 299 5
Reviewed by: Safwan
Like many other muslims in western non-muslim countries, the French muslims are having difficult time integrating into the society they live in. Worse, many have yet to see a way forward.
Muslims in France is by large a contribution from North American immigrants, to an extent that it spurred a degree fear of an “Arab-Muslim” invasion and consequently the loss of French identity. In this book, Professor Tariq Ramadan describes the social engagement that baffles both muslim and non-muslim sides. When the French government often looks at the Islamic associations with suspicion, leaders of various Islamic groups seems to fall into the trap and assume an extreme position. To have yet another door towards peaceful coexistence closed, the French muslims lack the ability to understand the French Constitution.
Prof Ramadan then aptly quoted the scarf affair and explained how the French’s law of 11th December 1905 (which is still in force today) backs and serves the muslims. Presenting concrete corollaries, he then maintains that muslims are at advantage if they make use of the five rights contained by the French Constitutional framework, which are the right to (1) knowledge, (2) practice Islam, (3) form associations, (4) autonomous representation, and (5) appeal.
With approximately 1400 Islamic organizations around, the author emphasized that the room for integration and unity is vast. Official and unofficial encounters have multiplied within years, and there definitely is a bright future to peaceful cohesion.