When reading about the issues surrounding Islam in France, I think that it is important for us to remember France’s colonial history with Algeria.
Algeria is a predominantly muslim country and was a French colony from the early 1800’s until 1962 when it was granted independence. After World War II, in which many Algerian soldiers fought along with the french, native Algerians became more and more frustrated with racist colonial policies and unequal representation within the government. These cultural and political tensions were the root causes of the Algerian revolution in which thousands people were killed over the course of several years.
A short documentary clip from 1956 clearly demonstrates the western perspective of the war: Algerian War
I think it is important that we remember how recently this conflict took place. In France today, there are still people who remember this war and remember how it was justified through racist and one sided colonial arguments. Its interesting to think about how this history with a heavily Muslim country must have influenced the popular understanding of Islam within France. With this history in mind, we can better understand the racist and ethnocentric undertones of this case study in globalization.