Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Treatment of Minorities

Treatment of Minorities

Sociological surveys indicate a high level of xenophobia in the country. This includes anti-immigrant and anti-Roma sentiments, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. National Human Rights Commission reports high levels of racism in France. President of the Commission said that while level of racism has fallen in the long-run – there are no more violent riots and attacks – there are hidden forms of racism, which are no longer limited to extremist groups. She added that this kind of racism “penetrates all social layers”. Tolerance index has been decreasing for the past four years. Meanwhile, BVA survey indicated that 9% of French people openly admit to being racist, while 26% consider themselves “somewhat racist”.

On May 22nd it was reported that according to a survey conducted by the World Values organization 22, 7% of respondents in France said they strongly oppose being neighbors with families who are of a different nationality, race or religion .

According to the survey "France 2013: new contradictions" conducted for the newspaper "Le Monde", published on January 25th, more than 70% of the French believe that Islam is an intolerant religion which is incompatible with the values of French society. Responding to a question about the compatibility of different religions with the French national values, the majority of respondents put Catholicism in the first place, less believe that Judaism is compatible with French values, Islam came in third place .

On March 25th it was reported that according to surveys of the French Institute of Sociology (IFOP), 84% of French people oppose the hijab and other forms of Islamic garments in the workplace regardless of forms of ownership .

Anti-Roma sentiments are common. Surveys showed that 35% of French people believe that there are “too many” of them. 77% of French respondents do not associate Roma with the French society . Even those who do not consider themselves racist hold anti-Roma views .

According to a survey conducted on January 24th by Market Watch on behalf of the World Zionist Organization 39% of French people agreed with the statement that "Jews have too much power in the business world", 21% do not consider it fair, and 40% remain neutral towards this fact. 47% of French people think that French Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country and only 15% do not agree with this point of view. 43% of respondents said that they have a positive attitude towards fellow Jews countrymen and 53% said their attitude was "neutral". Only 4% of respondents admitted having a negative attitude towards this group of the population. 20% said they had a positive attitude towards Israel, 61% said their opinion was neutral and 19% - negative. 54% of respondents expressed confidence that "the anti-Jewish moods" are the source of violence and anti-Semitic occurrences, 19% believe that the cause of anti-Semitism is the policy of Israel and 27% have no opinion on the matter.

According to the survey, the results of which were released on June 4th, 50% of respondents said that the Jews are "closer to France than to Israel", 75% felt that "they are a close-knit group characterized by solidarity," and 28% agreed with the statement, that "the level of influence of the Jews is too great". The same figure, 28% of the French, think that "too much" is being done to fight anti-Semitism, 20% felt that "too much is done" in order to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, but on the other hand, 22% believed that "not enough is done". The murder of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse on the 19th of March 2012 by Muslim extremists has been described as "an isolated incident, not showing an overall trend" by 59 percent of respondents, while 40 percent said it was "a sign of growing anti-Semitism in France".

The growth of xenophobia is felt by the population. On October 10th it was reported that approximately 60% of the French believe that racism in their country has become more common . According to a survey of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 85% of French Jewish respondents believe that anti-Semitism is a big problem in the country. 74% of respondents said that anti-Jewish moods "increased significantly". More than 50% of French people expressed negative feelings in relation to migrants in 2015 (65% in 2014). According to a survey conducted in September 2015, 80% of respondents supported the idea of returning border controls. At the same time, 70% of the country's inhabitants do not approve of the EU policy on refugees.

However, only 18% of French citizens experience negative feelings towards members of sexual minorities, which is one of the lowest rates in Europe.

On October 10th it was reported that approximately 60% of the French believe that racism in their country has become more common.

Marin Le Pen became a symbol of the growing influence of the ultra-right on society, who since October 2013 ranked third in the popularity among French politicians, sharing this place with F. Fillon and A. Juppe. At the same time, Minister of Internal Affairs took first place in many respects by increasing his rating due to tough anti-Roma statements. At the end of 2016, Le Pen took the first place (26%), ahead of its competitors in the presidential race - Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, who gained 20%.

On June 18, 2020, the National Human Rights Consultative Commission (NHRC) presented its 2019 Anti-Racism Report to the Prime Minister. The Commission's general statement is as follows: "Very often racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia are little talked about, they manifest themselves in subtle forms of rejection that are not always easy to characterize or condemn by victims. An increase in racist acts and speech was detected in 2019, in addition to the significant amounts reported in 2018. While the Index of Tolerance remains largely stable, prejudice, discrimination, and racist acts continue and require the collaborative development of adapted policies to address the issue."

In reviewing the report in detail, the key findings are as follows:

  1. Tolerance of minorities is measured according to the Longitudinal Tolerance Index (LTI). The closer the index is to 100, the higher the level of tolerance. Between 2018 and 2019, the overall Tolerance Index decreased by 1 point to 67 and 66, respectively. Since it reached 64 points in 2016, it has remained relatively stable. From 2013 to 2019, the index is up 13 points. The most interesting thing is that the level of tolerance varies greatly by minority. Blacks and Jews have an LTI of 79 points, which is quite high and contradicts the assumption that racism and anti-Semitism are a growing threat in France. Attitudes toward people from the Maghreb are 72, but when asked about Muslims, it drops to 60%, despite the fact that Muslims in France come mainly from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, that is, from the Maghreb. The lowest tolerance rate is for the Roma minority (36%), which numbers no more than 350,000, of whom 20,000 are from Bulgaria, Romania and the former Yugoslavia.
  2. Since the LTI began being used as a statistical tool in 1990, its overall rate has risen to 53, and to 66 in 2019. However, as the NCHRC report confirms, there are several prejudices that remain deeply entrenched. 60% of those surveyed believe that "Roma very often exploit their children," although those children lured by some criminal gangs to beg on the streets are only present in large cities where a significant community from Eastern Europe has developed. 59% believe that "many immigrants come to France for social benefits . 44.6% say that "Islam is a threat to French identity," and 34% say that "Jews have a special relationship to money".
  3. Regarding hate crime rates, according to the Commission, in 2019 the Ministry of the Interior reported that the number of crimes committed on the basis of the victim's origin, ethnicity, nationality or perceived affiliation to a particular race or religion increased to 5,730, an 11% increase compared to 2018 (5,170 incidents). The data for this period that we received from the Department of Justice regarding the suppression of these offenses refers to 2018, when the prosecutor's office handled 6,603 incidents of a racist nature. The concern is that the proportion of acquittals by the courts (16%) for racist incidents is still more than double that of other incidents involving harm or threat of harm to a person (7%) when the cause is not racism. It is also most interesting and useful to look at the data of the Central Territorial Intelligence Service (CTSI) within the Ministry of the Interior, which checks its statistics against those of community watchdog organizations such as CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewry. It has recorded 1,983 anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and "other racist and xenophobic acts". There were 687 anti-Semitic cases, an increase of 27% (541 in 2018); 154 anti-Muslim cases (100 in 2018), an increase of 54%, and 1,142 acts directed against other groups (496 in 2018), mostly black and Asian minorities, an increase of 130% over previous figures. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in February-March 2020, NGO watchdog groups representing China's half-million-strong community have reported that Asians have been targeted, mostly on social media, for allegedly being responsible for spreading the virus.
  4. The NCHR also pointed out the discrepancy between the number of racist incidents and the number of complaints, and emphasized that racism is greatly underestimated, as few victims actually file complaints. The Commission estimated that 1 million people (out of a population of 65 million) had once been victims of racism. She recalled that citizens' information on how and when to file a complaint must be improved and that police officers and judges must receive training on what constitutes a racial offence.

Regarding negative social manifestations against minority groups, the most interesting and recent development is that on December 17, 2019, a Paris labor court condemned, for the first time ever, an employer who imposed "systemic racial discrimination" and a "structured system of racist domination" on undocumented West African workers who worked on a construction site.

Interestingly, the 2018 NCHR report containing the results of an opinion poll showed an increase in pessimistic public sentiment, with 72% of respondents fearing the future and the first concern of 30% of respondents being "poverty," while 61% feared losing their jobs or seeing one of their relatives lose their job. The same survey showed that only 9% of French people believe in a "superior race," but 50% believe there are "too many immigrants," although this is down from 2017 (-4%). Nevertheless, prejudices remain. Above all, 57% think that foreigners come to France to benefit from welfare programs, and 34% say that crime is primarily a consequence of immigration. There is also a growing concern about "communautarianism," that is, living as a separate ethnic or religious group, which contrasts with the French model of secularism. For example, 68 percent of those surveyed felt that Roma "live separately as a group," compared to 37 percent for Muslims, 36 percent for Chinese, 24 percent for Jews, and 15 percent for blacks. According to the same survey, 84% of the French believe that foreigners must assimilate to French culture. At the same time, they believe that assimilation means severing all ties to one's native culture. A 2018 NHRC report also confirms that 44% of French people see Islam as a threat to French identity, and 59% oppose the wearing of the Muslim hijab in the streets. As for Jews, 20% say they "have too much power in France," and 33% say that "Israel is more important to them than France . These negative numbers should not obscure the positive fact that 89% of those surveyed believe that "Jews are as French as any other citizen," and that only 18% say there is "too much talk about World War II." By comparison, only 80% believe that Muslims are as French as anyone else, a proportion that drops to 63% when it comes to Roma. Finally, regarding LGBTQ people, 85% say that "being homosexual is an acceptable way of life".

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