Originally Posted by zachus
France has always been insecure as a country in terms of a country-wide identity. The French are vehemently opposed to anything non-French, I'm surprised they haven't already enacted a ban on Muslims period. France is an extremely conformist society, there's a rigid set of values and practices, anything else is taboo and unacceptable.
This isn't as much about France targeting Muslims as it is about France being extremely unilateral.
exactly correct. the government of france has been actively cultivating a distinctly french national identity for more than a century and is now struggling with how to accept diversity and not water-down frenchness.
there is a fantastic book about the cultivation of french national identity called "peasants into frenchmen" by eugene weber that i highly recommend.
i also recommend the film 'entre les murs' (the class) which deals with diversity of religion and identity in a downtown paris school. it's pretty slow moving, but extremely interesting.