After a several years of virtually unchecked immigration into Europe from Africa and the Middle East, one European leader is at least paying lip service to resisting the creation of Muslim enclaves in his country.
The enclaves amount to separate communities that are self-governing and embrace the tenets of Islam over the French Republic.
French President Emmanuel Macron today pledged to “win the battle” against these separate communities.
France has a Muslim population estimated at around six million – the largest in western Europe.
Pointing to “communitarianism” – the creation of such communities within a larger state – Macron said he was tired of hearing about children being taken out of school because of radical political ideas associated with Islam.
Mr. Macron said: “We must fight against discrimination – we have to have a meritocracy everywhere.”
France is a secular republic which does not compile official statistics about citizens’ religion or racial origin.
But Bourtzwiller, the district of the eastern city of Mulhouse which Mr. Macron visited, is considered a security concern because of tensions linked to Islam.
In 2012, Bourtzwiller – which has a population of 15,000 – was designated one of 47 “Republican reconquest districts” where traditional French values were being challenged.
This led to more police and security measures being deployed in the area, and stricter monitoring of radical preachers.
Many of those living there in Bourtzwiller have links to former French colonies in North Africa, such as Algeria. There have also been concerns about the funding of the new An-Nour Mosque and Islamic centre in Mulhouse, because around half of this sum is coming from Qatar