May 07, 2009 05:00 ET

French Muslims Are Nearly Twice as Loyal to France as the French Public Believe Them to Be

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 7, 2009) - A groundbreaking new report published today by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation shows that French Muslims are more likely than the French public to believe that Muslims are loyal to France.

The report, The Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Study of Interfaith Relations, is the first annual report on the state of faith relations in countries around the world and found that 80% of French Muslims say Muslims in France are loyal to their country; by contrast just over two in every five (44%) of the French public believe them to be loyal.

French Muslims identify with France as much as the French do (52%/55%), though they identify much more with their religion (58%) than the general French public (23%).

The report's authors say this research shows that religion and national identity are complementary rather than competing and dispels the myth that Muslims do not feel loyalty or an affinity to France.

The Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies Dalia Mogahed says there needs to be a renewed debate about the views of the majority of Muslims. Ms Mogahed, who was recently appointed to President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, highlighted how the report has broken down many of the myths about Muslim's attitudes.

"This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration are wide of the mark. French Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute even more to society.

"However in many cases it is a harsh economic reality that holds them back and stops them from realising their full potential," she said at the launch of the findings.

Other key findings in France include:

- French Muslims are about half as likely (23%) as the French population as a whole to be considered thriving (50%).

- The French general public and French Muslims are very much aligned when it comes to what else drives integration; mastering French (92%/94%) and finding a job (91%/87%).

- Nearly two thirds of the French public believe that it is necessary to remove the headscarf (62%) and the veil (63%) in order to integrate; however half (50%) also believe not wearing visible large crosses is necessary to integrate into French society.

"In France the general public is far more likely than any other population surveyed to deem it necessary for minorities to not openly display religious symbols in order to integrate," observed Muhammad Yunis, senior analyst at Gallup.

"This finding is not surprising, as the legal concept of laicite, which delineates the separation of "church" and "state" in French government institutions, has evolved to apply to individuals in the public sphere."

The report also investigates the state of Muslim integration in the UK and Germany. The findings show that although European Muslims surveyed tend to hold more conservative views on moral issues than the general public in France, Germany and the UK, the general European public also hold strong conservative views.

It also shows that French Muslims have less confidence in most institutions than Muslims in the UK or Germany. Although a majority of French Muslims (62%) say they have confidence in their police force, they are far less likely than the French public (78%) to report such confidence.

The report's authors say the lower levels of trust in some national institutions among France's Muslim population may stem from feeling marginalized in society.

Nearly half of French Muslims (45%) say they are in employment, compared with 54% among the French population as a whole.

"As Europeans strive to become productive members of their societies, these findings suggest at least for French Muslims integration may become precarious in light of the current financial and economic crisis affecting Europe," added Dalia Mogahed.

The report also includes results of a 27 country survey, spanning four continents. This found that Bangladesh scored the highest (99%) as a proportion for which religion plays an important part of daily life. Norway ranked lowest (20%), with the UK at 29%, and France at one in four (25%).

Link to full report here


The Research

The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies draws its analysis from data collected through the Gallup World Poll, an ongoing research project that surveys residents in more than 140 countries and areas and represents the views of 95% of the world's population.

The French general population was surveyed in June 2008 and included 100 interview of individuals aged 15 years and older. Data were weighted based on gender, age, household size and education to reflect the general population. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 513 French Muslims, aged 15 and older in June 2008. The maximum margin of sampling error for all six populations is +5 percentage points.

About Muslim West Facts Project

Muslim West Facts Project is a not-for-profit partnership between Gallup and the Coexist Foundation to disseminate the findings of Gallup's independent research to opinion leaders around the world.

About the Coexist Foundation

The Coexist Foundation is a charity established in 2006 to promote better understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims - the Abrahamic Faiths - through education, dialogue and research. Through the projects and programmes which we support, we hope to help people of these faiths improve their relations - above all with each other, but also with different faiths, and with those of no faith.

About the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies

The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies is a nonpartisan research center dedicated to providing data-driven analysis, advice, and education on the views of Muslim populations around the world. It draws upon Gallup's unprecedented global research initiative, the Gallup World Poll and the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World, to enable global leaders, institutions, and the public to make more informed decisions. For more information please visit

Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years. Gallup's reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world's leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. For more information please visit

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