Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Brenda Wirkus, Ph.D.
Pam Mason, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
Andreas Sobich, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
The place of Islam has been an ongoing debate for decades and still remains unresolved. Since the inception of the guest worker program initiated by European countries following the devastation of WWII, particularly France and Germany, Europe’s largest economies, the unanticipated occurred; what was conceived to be a temporary imported labor force which would eventually return home, turned into permanent settlement. For France, the labor pool emanated from colonial holdings predominantly from Maghreb, North Africa. Germany had no such labor source, but had a long ongoing relationship with Turkey which dated back to the Ottoman Empire. The entrance of this particular labor force into the French and German space brought Muslim populations to countries which have very clear models of self-identity and which are at odds with Islam. France’s model of national ideology is based on jus soli— promoting the territorial notion of nationhood. It sheds any connection to religion, particularly in the public sphere, and is ideologically secular, promoting the concept of laïcité. Germany’s national model is based on jus sanguinis, or blood-ties, and sees itself as Christian-Occidental. Both countries have promoted their specific models as a precondition to citizenship and belonging. Although changes have occurred, Muslims still find themselves viewed as aliens in both France and Germany, and are socially and economically marginalized. This situation has driven younger generations of Muslims, born and raised in France and Germany to find a place of belonging within their religious community rather than in mainstream society. Even so, some Muslim leadership in France is attempting to find a compromise between being both Muslim and French at the same time as a path towards integration, while in Germany, Turks have formed a parallel society through the strong organizations which they have developed to better serve the Muslim community and provide services which the German Government can’t or won’t.
Cohen, Yael R., "The Obstacles to the Integration of Muslims in Germany and France: How Muslims and the States Impair the Smooth Transition From Immigrant to Citizen" (2011). Masters Theses. 6.