Tensions on Islam adding to dangerous mix

2013-07-23 16:03

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Weekend violence outside Paris triggered by France's controversial veil ban has highlighted how tensions with the Muslim community are adding to an already-volatile mix of poverty and alienation in the country's blighted suburbs.

The unrest in the Paris suburb of Trappes erupted after a man was arrested for allegedly attacking a police officer who stopped his wife over wearing a full-face veil in public.

Feelings of anti-Muslim discrimination, coupled with unemployment and tensions with police are creating an "explosive" mix in the suburbs, said Veronique Le Goaziou, a sociologist and expert on urban violence in France.

"These areas are pressure-cookers," she said.

The violence kicked off on Friday evening, when about 400 people protested near the Trappes police station, southwest of Paris.

They set fire to bins, destroyed bus stops and hurled stones at police who responded with tear gas. A 14-year-old boy suffered a serious eye injury and several police officers were also hurt.

Trigger for unrest

The disturbances continued on Saturday night, albeit to a lesser degree, and by Sunday a tense calm had been restored.

Police actions are often the trigger for unrest in France's working-class suburbs, including in 2005 when weeks of rioting broke out after the deaths of two teenage boys in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

The two were electrocuted when they climbed into an electricity substation as they tried to escape police chasing them.

Riots last year in the northern city of Amiens were set off by police identity checks.

Critics have described frequent identity checks in immigrant neighbourhoods as "police harassment", and studies have shown that people of African and Arab descent can face up to 10 times more spot ID checks than white people.

"Every time there is urban violence, it's linked to a police operation. This shows to what extent relations between residents of working-class neighbourhoods and police forces are problematic," Le Goaziou said.

'Tensions moving into field of Islam'


A few kilometres from the Chateau de Versailles, Trappes is a poor city of 30 000 surrounded by wealthy neighbours. In 2010, half the households lived on less than €13 400 a year and unemployment was at 15%.

"This is a terrifyingly common situation," said sociologist Michel Kokoreff. "We are in an area that has problem after problem, where people have a profound feeling of abandonment."

That the latest unrest was set off in part by the ban on full-face veils underscores the increasingly tense ties between authorities and the Muslim community, observers say.

"Tensions are moving into the field of Islam," Kokoreff said.

The veil ban, introduced in 2011, has outraged many in France's Muslim community, which at an estimated four million is western Europe's largest Muslim minority.

Officials say more than 700 women have been stopped since the ban was introduced.

Radical Islamic groups

The growing visibility of French Muslims has also sparked a backlash from nationalists and been a key factor in the increasing popularity of the far-right National Front.

"For several years there has been a rise in the feeling of persecution among non-Muslims, who have the impression that Islam is imposing its views, and on the other side, among Muslims who have the impression they are always stigmatised," said religious anthropologist Dounia Bouzar.

And in some areas, including Trappes with its large Muslim population, radical Islamic groups have emerged and are fuelling tensions, she said.

"These new religious movements are feeding on inequality and frustration," she said. "When people feel like they have no place in society, [radical] Salafist discourse turns the situation around by giving them a feeling of power."

Read more on:    france  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.