My wife's grandfather, a Frenchman who can trace his lineage back to the 15th Century, used to go on at great length at Sunday lunch about how the immigrants needed to assimilate. (I was one at the time, but of course he meant the Muslim North Africans.) They live in France, and so they must follow the culture and laws of France.
Speaking of the laws, I asked, how many North African Muslims are in the French Parliament? My wife's grandfather changed the subject.
Real Clear Politics | October 09, 2006 | France and Its Muslims | By Stephanie Giry
Only two out of 908 members of the French Parliament are Muslim [French born in France], and they were elected only in 2004.
WaPo | In France, Prisons Filled With Muslims
El Alaoui Talibi [is] one of only four Muslim holy women allowed to work in French prisons. "Everyone has the same prejudices and negative image of Muslims and Islam," said Moroccan-born El Alaoui Talibi, 47, the mother of seven children. "When some guards see you, they see an Arab; they see you the same as if you were a prisoner."
This prison is majority Muslim -- as is virtually every house of incarceration in France. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country's prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country's population.
On a continent where immigrants and the children of immigrants are disproportionately represented in almost every prison system, the French figures are the most marked, according to researchers, criminologists and Muslim leaders.
"The high percentage of Muslims in prisons is a direct consequence of the failure of the integration of minorities in France," said Moussa Khedimellah, a sociologist who has spent several years conducting research on Muslims in the French penal system.
In Britain, 11 percent of prisoners are Muslim in contrast to about 3 percent of all inhabitants, according to the Justice Ministry. Research by the Open Society Institute, an advocacy organization, shows that in the Netherlands 20 percent of adult prisoners and 26 percent of all juvenile offenders are Muslim; the country is about 5.5 percent Muslim. In Belgium, Muslims from Morocco and Turkey make up at least 16 percent of the prison population, compared with 2 percent of the general populace, the research found.