Arab Muslims, the largest minority group in France, feel they are not accepted because of their religion or the ethnic origin of their names, says opinion poll by Arab News and YouGov.

Visitors buy women's clothes during 35th annual cultural and festive event organised by Union of Islamic Organizations of France at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, March 30, 2018.
Visitors buy women's clothes during 35th annual cultural and festive event organised by Union of Islamic Organizations of France at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, March 30, 2018. (Reuters Archive)

French people of Arab origin are committed to the French values of secularism, yet they are stigmatised and feel excluded due to the ethnic origin of their names, a recent opinion poll has shown. 

The survey was conducted by the daily Arab News in French in cooperation with YouGov – an internet-based research firm – which said 51 percent of the respondents felt excluded from French society.

The poll suggests the largest minority group in France suffer from lack of acceptance, even stigmatisation, Arab News reported.

The survey was carried out between September 8 and September 14, "and was based on a representative sample of 958 French people from Arab countries, living in France."

Almost 54 percent of the nearly 1,000 respondents said they would advocate secularism, even expressing that they even considered it a solution to the problems in their Arab countries.

According to the results, the French women of Arab origin feel more exclusion than men, with 66 percent against 52 percent of men saying they are excluded because of their religion.

The survey showed that older generations are better integrated compared to younger ones who show less enthusiasm for the state institutions.

READ MORE: Emmanuel Macron issues ultimatum to French Muslims

France's crackdown on minorities 

Some 58 percent of the respondents aged 18-24 said they support football teams of their original countries against France, contrary to 72 percent of the respondents aged over 55, who said they support French football clubs.

Recently, France witnessed a crackdown against what French President Emmanuel Macron called "Islamist separatism" to defend France's secular values, and argued that insulting caricatures of Prophet Muhammad should be defended on free speech grounds.

The decision caused outrageous reactions by most of the Arab and Muslim world against the French insulting of the Muslim symbols.

READ MORE: France is losing its battle with Muslims, Islam and now the West

Curbs on French Muslims

Muslims living in France have been feeling the squeeze as Macron seeks to place more restrictions on how they practice their faith.

Macron has pressured the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) to sign up to a charter of "Republican values" in a move that singles out Europe's largest Muslim population.

The ultimatum comes amid accusations that the Macron government is stigmatising Muslims following three separate terrorist attacks, which were roundly condemned by the community.

Macron wants, among other things, for the CFCM to declare publicly that Islam is only a religion and not a political movement. It also wants to stop other Muslim countries from helping France's beleaguered Muslim community in what Paris views as "foreign interference."

Macron's hamfisted plan to tackle "extremism" has been condemned by many Muslims inside France and internationally, too.

READ MORE: Amnesty warns against French crackdown on freedom of association

Source: TRTWorld and agencies