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French Muslims: A Silent Community?

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Part of the French Politics, Society and Culture book series (FPSC)


The thesis of a so-called ‘Muslim silence’ prevailed in the French public space after the 2015 attacks although prayers for ‘the protection of France’ were organised in a number of mosques, and even though many French Muslims posted on social networks messages of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks. This chapter argues that, in response to the attacks, French Muslims developed a form of symbiosis between republican values and religious rituals, and asserted a desire to reconcile ‘Islamicness’ and French citizenship. These efforts contributed to the development of a unique version of Islamo-patriotism. Moreover, the chapter demonstrates that the diversity of French Muslim reactions to terrorist attacks reflected the social, territorial and generational splits in the French population.


  • Muslims
  • Islamicness
  • Jihadism (counter-discourse against)
  • French citizenship
  • Republican values
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Islamophobia

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  1. 1.

    We use this notion of ‘Islamicness’ (islamité) drawing on the term ‘Jewishness’ (judéité), referring to the different ways of being, living as and feeling oneself to be Jewish, outside of any religious belief or practice (Schnapper et al. 2009).

  2. 2.

    CFCM (French Council for Muslim Worship), press release of 8 January 2015. This text was signed by all the Muslim federations of France, including the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF), though the latter has withdrawn from the CFCM.

  3. 3.

    CFCM, press release dated 14 January 2015.

  4. 4.

    Call for unity and national mourning by Muslim federations, Saphirnews, November 14, 2015. Accessed on 12 December 2015.

  5. 5.

    Source: Accessed October 2021.

  6. 6.

    Source: Accessed October 2021.

  7. 7.

    ‘Darmanin annonce la dissolution officielle du CCIF [Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France] en conseil des ministres’, L’Obs, 2 December 2020. Accessed October 2021.

  8. 8.

    Younès Yousfi, deputy head of the Muslim lycée Ibn Khaldoun in Marseille: ‘Hommage à Samuel Paty: des élèves musulmans et catholiques se rassemblent à Marseille pour prôner le “vivre ensemble”, France 3, February 11, 2020. https://france3-regions.francetvinfo. Accessed October 2021.

  9. 9.

    Office of the French Council for Muslim Worship, press release dated 14 January 2015.

  10. 10.

    Rachid Barbouch, “Le RMF prône une prière pour la France chaque vendredi”, Blog Mediapart, 7 July 2015. Accessed October 2021.


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Correspondence to Vincent Geisser .

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Geisser, V. (2022). French Muslims: A Silent Community?. In: Faucher, F., Truc, G. (eds) Facing Terrorism in France. French Politics, Society and Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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