FaithWorld

Poll shows how the French see their problems

December 7, 2007

The Eiffel Tower in ParisSince the purported role of Islam in the recent French riots seems particularly important to some readers outside of France, the results of a new poll just published in the French Catholic weekly La Vie are quite interesting for this blog. The survey is about whether France is losing its national identity. This is a persistent question in a country worried that its international influence and the prestige of its culture and language are fading while globalisation, immigration and Islam are playing a larger role in French life. The survey was conducted on November 28-29, only days after the rioting in a Paris suburb that some readers say should be called “Muslim riots.”

The overall picture the poll gives is one of a country mostly concerned about basic economic and social issues. Its threshold for integration is high and its Catholic tradition colours its view of other religions, despite the widespread secularisation of daily life. There is a minority clearly concerned about Islam. But religion as a general concern ranks low, so it’s not clear whether the roughly 30 percent concerned about immigration and Islam’s compatibility with French values see Muslims as religious believers or a socioeconomic underclass. Most likely it’s both.

The CSA institute gave 1,000 French questions with a list of answers and asked them to mark as many responses as they thought were relevant. The figures indicate the percentage of respondents choosing the response.

What are the main fears concerning French society?

Unemployment 45
Poverty 44
Racism 29
Crime 28
Economic crisis 28
Pollution 25
Terrorism 21
Religious fundamentalism 19
Loss of French identity 14
Immigration 8
AIDS 8

What are the most important things residents of France should do?

Participate in economic and social life in France 94
Respect the French flag 92
Speak French 92
Know the institutions of the French Republic 90
Know French history 84
Share the same values 80
Know the words of the Marseillaise (national anthem) 59
Share the same lifestyle 52
Be born in France 32
Have the same religion 14

Which religions are compatible with French national identity?

Religion Compatible
Incompatible
Roman Catholics 92 6
Protestants 84 12
Jews 82 15
Buddhists 74 20
Muslims 68 30

What does immigration represent for France?

  An asset A handicap No opinion
from a cultural point of view 73 24 3
from an economic point of view 46 50 4
from a social point of view 41 54 5
Comments
2 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I think the most startling thing about the survey was the question of religion being compatble with French national identity, although only 11% say religion is the most important thing – 30% think Buddhism incompatble, Judaism is seen as incompatible by 15%, and even Protestantism is thought to be incompatble by 12%.

Posted by Stephen | Report as abusive
 

CORRECTION
I think the most startling thing about the survey was the question of religion being compatble with French national identity, although only 11% say religion is the most important thing – 30% think Islam incompatible, 20% Buddhism, Judaism is seen as incompatible by 15%, and even Protestantism is thought to be incompatble by 12%.

Posted by Stephen | Report as abusive
 

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