Thursday, March 22, 2012

Poll: 'Anti-Semitic notions' on rise among French, other Europeans

Of the many stereotypes of the French, perhaps the most common (and least offensive) is that they are a very cosmopolitan people and thus open to other cultures. Anyone visiting France will notice there is "French culture" and then there is the rest of the world. French art became world renowned not because of a tolerance for different styles but because anything other than the French ideal was not tolerated.

The recent shootings in Toulouse highlight French intolerance. Anti-Semite feelings in France are not unknown but for years France has been more intolerant of Muslim culture. Muslim women especially feel discriminated against by numerous policies requiring them to remove their face or head coverings.

France's involvement with military actions against Libya was largely motivated not by feelings against Qaddafi but rather a desire to have access to oil. In turn, this strained relations between the Sarkozy government and French Muslims. The legacy of French imperialism throughout North Africa still echoes in the 21st Century.

As hostilities continue to escalate with Syria and Iran, we can anticipate seeing more violence in France.

LA Times

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