Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

International Affairs

First Advisor

Thomas Zeiler

Second Advisor

Joseph Jupille

Third Advisor

Vicki Hunter

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to identify and understand the “rooted” (French citizens with no immediate foreign decent) French perception of the Muslim community in France. In France, there is a mounting tension between the rooted French population and the Muslim community, as demonstrated by the growing number of French citizens leaving to fight for ISIS, the success of the National Front, and the terrorist attacks in Paris. I will first examine what constitutes French identity by examining the principle of laïcité, the French citizenship model, public opinion of French identity, and the National Front as a response to the perceived threat of Muslims to French identity. Then, I analyze four studies that provide insight of French attitudes to numerous questions that focus on Islam, Muslims, and integration. Finally, I reveal the results of my questionnaire conducted among forty-eight rooted French. I conclude that while the perception of Muslims is negative due to the rooted French belief that Muslims are refusing to adapt a French identity, the greater issue at hand is that Muslims, as a growing and seemingly dangerous out-group, present a perceived threat because of their perceived lack of adherence to laïcité- a central tenet of French identity.

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