Islamic Schools in France: Minority Integration and Separatism in Western Society

  • Morrill Hall, 404

Is Islam compatible with the West? I propose an answer to this question through the study of the exponentially growing phenomenon of private full-time Muslim education in France. After some background information about Islam in post-colonial France and private schooling subsidized by the State, I analyze the successes, failures, challenges, and future of K-12 Islamic schools in France, and argue that these schools are a sign of integration of a diverse Muslim population. This study is based on field work conducted in 2016 and 2018 in pioneer schools, during which I observed Arabic and Islamic education classes, and spoke with school administrators and teachers. While the schools’ priority is academic excellence, I examine how Islamic education has been adapted to build both national and religious identities among French Muslim students, and how these classes participate in the making of a French Islam.

Co-sponsored with the Cornell Institute for Eauropean Studies