France

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  • Muslims

  • Jewish people

  • Roma

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Stage 6: Polarization
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France has a long history of using the concept of “laïcité” (secularism) to discriminate against religious minorities and force them to "assimilate" into society. Since the implementation of a law separating the church from the state in 1905, laïcité has been claimed to maintain a level of religious neutrality in French public life. However, it has been increasingly used to disproportionately repress Muslim culture and fuel stigma against the Muslim community. In response to incidents of Islamist terrorism and pressure from the far-right, President Macron's government recently introduced an "anti-separatism" legislation to harden secularist policies. Additionally, France has a history of persecuting the Roma community. Since former president Nicolas Sarkozy deported thousands of Roma in 2009, widespread anti-Roma sentiment has remained a serious problem today. 

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Page last updated:
09/11/2021

Resources

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France, Islam and Secularism | Start Here, Al Jazeera

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The long, troubled history of assimilation in France | Thomas Lacroix, The Conversation

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Eyes wide shut: collective punishment of Roma in 21st-century Europe | Bernard Rorke, openDemocracy