SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

French Republic, Islam and Muslims: What Goes Wrong?

Haoues Seniguer, Sciences Po Lyon and Le Laboratoire Triangle, UMR 5206, Lyon

Date: 26 February 2019Time: 5:45 PM

Finishes: 26 February 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

In France, since the late 1980s if not earlier, Islam and Muslims have been the object of permanent controversies of various intensities. Under the French Constitution, the Nation is defined as being composed of individuals with equal rights and duties irrespective of their origins: “France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic”. However, some state representatives show mistrust towards visible minorities, especially Muslims.

For several political actors and opinion leaders, the visibility of Muslims in the public sphere in the exercise of their rights or in expressing their dissatisfaction are often confused with Islamism or a radical challenge to the principle of Laïcité. Islam is often perceived, whether implicitly or explicitly, as somewhat hostile to Laïcité and modernity, and observant Muslims are regarded suspiciously.

Three major conflictual dynamics  will be examined in this respect: first, the boundless extension of the application of Laïcité targeting Muslims in particular (e.g. to veiled mothers accompanying their children on school outings, veiled nannies, etc.); second, the extension of the terms “Islamism”, “Political Islam” and “Muslim Brothers” to describe a broad range of Muslim civil society actors; third, the radicalisation of a Muslim fringe in this context.

Haoues Seniguer is Associate Professor in Political Science at Sciences Po Lyon and Researcher at Le Laboratoire Triangle, UMR 5206 in Lyon. An Algerian-French, he holds degrees in Philosophy (Grenoble University) and Political Science (Lyon II Université, Sciences Po Lyon). Haoues Seniguer specializes in the study of the relationship between Islam and politics in the Muslim world and in France. He completed his PhD in Political Science at Université Lumière/Sciences Po Lyon in 2012 with a thesis on the reconfigurations of Moroccan Islamism.

Chair: Gilbert Achcar, SOAS

Admission Free - All Welcome

Organiser: London Middle East Institute

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