FRANCE, in Western Europe, has a population of about 63 millions people (05/2007) and stretches on 549,000 km. About 10% of the population is from Muslim countries that were once French colonies. In FRANCE there is an absolute separation between religion that is considered a private matter and state affairs. It is very difficult in FRANCE to classify people by religion. If questioned about their religion only 6% of the French population declares themselves Muslims. Most of the Muslims in FRANCE are from the Maghreb (North Africa).
The proportion of Muslims in FRANCE is the highest in the Western democracies and their integration in the economic and social life in FRANCE is very problematic. The unemployment among the young Muslims is very high, the average of formal education is low and many of the Muslims in FRANCE are living in their own neighborhood in the suburbs of the big cities in self formed ghettos. Large part of the Muslim community in FRANCE distinguishes itself from the general social and political culture in FRANCE and, gradually, an atmosphere of a deprived minority spread among the Muslim communities.
The conflict between the secular political culture in FRANCE and the Islamic perception of public life breaches from time to time through public debates such as the right to wear a veil in public schools or about the emigration policy. It also breaches in the streets through riots in the Muslim suburbs once or twice a year.
After the civil war in Algeria (1992-1998) many of the more extreme Islamist that fled Algeria took advantage on the frustration of many young Muslims in FRANCE and Islamic terror cells became a major concern to FRANCE security services.
FRANCE conducted in the last decades a pro Arabic policy. FRANCE supported the Palestinian cause in the Arab Israeli conflict and opposed firmly the USA led war in Iraq.
Because of its foreign policy, a very tough policing system and a very efficient security services FRANCE managed to foil almost all terror attacks intended to be carried out in FRANCE but the basic problem of a large, young, unemployed and alienated Muslims looking to express their frustrations is unsolved.
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