Journal Article — Islamophobia: a French Specificity in Europe? — by Vincent Gessier

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This paper argues that France is not more Islamophobic than other European countries. An ‘institutional Islamophobia’ or ‘State Islamophobia’ doesn’t really exist. However, the relation toward Islam is complex and determined by the “missionary mind” which persists by wishing to emancipate Muslims from their religion, perceived as an archaic, obscurantist and despotic phenomenon.

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Abstract

This paper argues that France is not more Islamophobic than other European countries. An ‘institutional Islamophobia’ or ‘State Islamophobia’ doesn’t really exist. However, the relation toward Islam is complex and determined by the “missionary mind” which persists by wishing to emancipate Muslims from their religion, perceived as an archaic, obscurantist and despotic phenomenon. French society specificity expresses itself in the tendency to ‘ideologize’ Islam. In front of the ‘danger’ of the political Islam (fundamentalism, radical Islam, Islamoterrorism…), French institutions would like to promote their own conception of a ‘regenerated Islam’ (comparable to the ‘regenerated Judaism’ during the Third Republic). The Jacobinism and republican view of ‘Islam Governance’ is founded on a ‘powerful interventionism’ of the State and the public institutions in usual Islamic matters. So France is characterized by a permanent paradox. It is a European country where Islam is officially institutionalized but it also exists within a Western society where Islamophobic tendencies are the strongest and most recurrent.

Recommended Citation

Gessier, Vincent. 2010. “Islamophobia: a French Specificity in Europe?.” Pp. 39-46 in Islam: From Phobia to Understanding (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VIII, Issue 2, 2010.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

The various editions of Islam: From Phobia to Understanding can be ordered from the Okcir Store and are  also available for ordering from all major online bookstores worldwide (such as Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and others).


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