Rabat – Fifty-six percent of French people believe that Islam is compatible with the values of their country, according to a survey conducted by the French-based polling firm, the Institut Français d’Opinion Publique (IFOP).
The survey results, which were published today by the French weekly newspaper, Le Journal Du Dimanche, show that the majority of French people think that Islam is compatible with their society, while 43 percent believe the opposite.
A similar survey conducted in September 2016 showed that 56 percent of French people saw Islam as incompatible with the country’s values, while only 44 percent of respondents thought that Islam is compatible with their society.
According to the newspaper, notwithstanding this apparent development, “Islam remains a major topic that brings a cleavage” among French people according to their political sensitivities and biases.
The survey responses indicate a sharp divide based on political affiliation. 63 percent of Republicans supporters and 62 percent of National Front (Front National) supporters believe that Islam is incompatible with the values of French society. However, 73 percent of Socialist Party supporters and 60 percent of those of la France Soumise, as well as 58 percent of la République en Marche supporters, think the opposite, according to the survey.
Ifop also surveyed French people about the proposal to add a tax on halal food. The idea of the food tax was first proposed in 2016 by an association representing French Muslims to fund mosques and to combat radicalization among young people. The effort was in response to concerns in France about the financing of mosques in the country as well as to a series of terror attacks that France witnessed over the past few years, according to British news outlet The Independent.
In this regard, a large majority of French people (70 percent) are opposed to the “tax on halal” proposal, while only 29 percent support the idea.
In 2016, former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in an interview with the French newspaper Liberation that the majority of French people see Islam as incompatible with the values of the Republic. The prime minister noted the importance of demonstrating the opposite.
“Certain people don’t want to believe it, a majority of French citizens doubt it, but I’m convinced that it’s possible.” However, the former prime minister said that French society can “demonstrate that Islam, a great world religion and the second religion of France, is fundamentally compatible with the Republic, democracy, our values and equality between men and women,” said Valls in the Libérationinterview.