Germany and France's Muslim Problem: Is Political Frustration the Cause?
Author Boukhars explains French anxiety over Muslim culture. He reminds the reader that this anxiety is “not a new phenomenon’ (Boukhars, 298). Instead, this anxiety has at least existed since the 1995 bombings of the Paris metro, and was only furthered with the 9/11 attacks and the terrorist attacks on Madrid and England’s pubic transit (Boukhars, 299). This anxiety has created xenophobia, and Muslim communities are stereotypically seen (by European citizens) as communalistic and anti-government. This is termed as “symbolic ghettoization” and Boukhars says the French see Muslim youth as “scum that must be simply rubbed out” (Boukhars, 299).
This mindset grows from events like the 2005 riots in Paris. Boukhars points out the riots were indeed comprised of Muslims, but instead of chanting scripture or other familiar jihad intifada they chanted “liberte, egalite, fraternite” (Boukhars, 299). France’s biggest political Muslim group, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), is not doing its job of uniting Muslims across France politically. Instead, youth see the UOIF’s image as polluted, since it has constructed deals with the Ministry of the Interior, and failed to loudly voice critical opinions on important Muslim issues (Boukhars, 300).
Anger with already established Islamist groups, Boukhars argues, is evidence of political frustration with the usual mouthpieces.
Boukhars identifies three different salafi groups in France, their stances on French integration, and their attractiveness to Muslims in France. The Salafist (generally a Sunni Muslim) puts emphasis on the piousness of ancestors and follows the Quran in both “action and deed…” (Boukahrs, 300). The three types of salafism in France are broken down into predicative, political, and jihadist.
Predicative salafism is a return to political Islam, a rebirth, and is a-political. Predicative salafism seeks a transnational (global) Muslim identity, founded in individualization. This is the biggest of the three Muslim groups in France, and is non-violent and leadership-less.