France does not know how many Muslims, Arabs or Blacks live in the country because there is no ethnic census. For 25 years, government has put the number of Muslims at four million but demographics would suggest it is much higher. An ethnic census would show France has a ‘Muslim problem,’ the first step towards fixing it.
François Fillion, who was Prime Minister under President Sarkozy, wants to introduce ethnicity into the census so “we don’t suffer immigration from a single region of the world which would be disconnected from our economic needs and our capacity to integrate.” Race is one of the questions he wants added.
In France, you are either a citizen or an immigrant. There are roughly 260,000 new immigrants each year and from 70 to 100 thousand naturalizations a year. The vast majority come from North Africa and Black Africa. Those who become French, lose their origin immediately.
One visit to any court house in France is enough to see that those of African and Arab origin are disproportionately represented in the criminal class.
An ethnic census would:
- identify and name the problem.
- identify where integration has worked so researchers could find out why.
- identify discrimination patterns that may contribute to radicalization.
- determine whether the French judicial system treats Blacks, Arabs and Whites the same.
Sociologists complain they have no data to work with and all their research can only be based on case studies which is about as scientific as phone-in opinion polls.
François Fillon excludes questions of religion on his ethnic census although everybody knows Islam is what is behind his bid to break the taboo. Race would give some indications of the problem, but religion, I am sure, would identify what so many French people know and which is pushing them to vote for the far right.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen says she is opposed to race in a census although she favors one which shows how many foreigners there are. Her argument is an opportunist attempt to get votes from France’s overseas territories and departments such as heavily Black Guadeloupe and Martinique, known in France as the “Outre-Mer.”
“I don’t want to put in the same bag,” she says, “those from l’Outre-mer, our compatriots, and those who come from foreign countries, such as Malians and others.”
Marine is right to distinguish between the Outremarins and those of African origin. They have nothing in common beyond their skin color and in general do not mix. Most Outremarins, except those from the French annexed Comoran Island of Mayotte, identify with France, its history and culture. Le Pen’s problem is easily fixed by adding the census question “Black d’Outre-mer or other?”
Those on the left who insist on being color-blind argue an ethnic census would just pit one part of the French population against another. But with the radicalization of Muslim youth in France and the perceived danger felt by so many White’ Frenchmen, identifying the problem would be a first step to dealing with it.
The French dream of ‘assimilation’ of immigrants has not worked with its massive Muslim population who are often parked in 1960’s faceless housing projects, the Banlieues, where drug traffic is rampant and Salafist young men all too often impose their law. The school system is not able to overcome the social pressure of the community. The number of Muslim women with their heads and bodies covered who come to collect their children at state schools has grown exponentially, as I have been able to witness in Montreuil, a suburb on the outskirts of Paris where my grand-daughters attend school.
While France has always refused to recognize its ‘Muslim problem’ officially, it has passed laws aimed directly at it, such as banning headscarves in state schools and full veils in public. These laws have further antagonized and radicalized young Muslims, mostly male youth. They have not stemmed the growth in France of radical political Islam.
There is a ‘Muslim problem’ which did not exist with earlier waves of Christian immigration from Poland, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Only an ethnic census which includes race and religion can identify it.
While the ‘politically correct’ stick their heads in the sand, the problems continue to grow. This is fodder for the xenophobic right and it will be no surprise when the National Front comes out far ahead in December’s regional elections.