During intense and contradictory debate on national identity in France, a study was published, which raises the question of how a country, that honors the universal values of freedom, equality, fraternity, wants to integrate Muslim citizens in French society. The study, which was carried out by French and American researchers from Stanford University and Sciences-Po, showed that French Muslims are in most cases discriminated based on religious affiliation, and not on their country roots.
France, of all Western European countries, has the biggest Muslim community, which adds up to five millions. There are many debates on the integration of immigrant roots of its citizens, but the reality is different. One example is the suggestion of prohibiting the burqa, which is a Muslim women’s clothing covering the body from head to toe. According to the Interior Ministry, around 1900 women wear burqa. The proposed ban would be unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.
The study “Are French Muslims discriminated in their own country?” showed that Muslims who send their CVs to apply for a job, two and half times less likely get a positive response. At the same time it is important to mention that their salaries are on average 400 Euros less than of other French citizens. “Discrimination against Muslim candidates in the French labor market has very specific consequences for their standard of living,” is one of the main results of the analysis, which was the first one which took a closer look on Islamic discrimination in the French labor market.
In order to find out whether Muslim French citizens with immigration roots are discriminated because of their religious affiliation, the researchers wrote two identical CVs for 24-year old single women from Senegal. Senegal is a country, whose people immigrated to France in the early seventies. French and Senegal people shared the same language and history but not the religion due to the fact that two-thirds of the local population from Senegal is Muslim. The researchers created three fictional biographies: Marie Diouf, Khadija Diouf and Aurélie Ménard. In France, Diouf was a very famous surname Senegalese origin, whereas Ménard is a typical French last name. Khadija is a Muslim name, while Marie is supposed to be Christian. As a result, they could compare three different job seekers: French female job seeker, female with French-Senegalese descent with a Christian name and a female with the same descent having a Muslim name. Every application was very comparable to each other concerning experience, age, gender, residence and French nationality. All CVs were sent out for similar jobs to 300 French companies. In the end of the research, Aurélie was more appreciated than Marie, but the difference between Aurélie and Khadija was striking. Aurélie got three times more positive responses than Khadija.
There is no doubt that in the French labor market a huge discrimination against Muslims exists, at least when it comes to white collars. Moreover, the study confirmed that Islamic religion is an obstacle in the Muslims economic success in France. Another study took a closer look to 511 Senegal families and came to the conclusion that Senegalese Muslims on average earn 400 Euros less than other citizens.