Book Conference: Why Muslim integration fails: An inquiry in Christian-heritage societies


David D. Laitin, Watkins Professor of Political Science, Stanford University



The research for this book asks the question of whether Muslim immigrants into the Christian-heritage societies in Europe (with a focus on France) face higher hurdles to integration success than do matched Christians. And if so, what are the mechanisms that explain those differences in integration success? The research confirms that Muslims qua Muslims are discriminated against. Moreover, it establishes that both Muslim immigrants and the host populations bear joint responsibility for the relative failure of Muslims not only in France but in other Christian-heritage societies as well. From ethnographic interviews, field experiments and surveys conducted in France, we show that the host population discriminate against Muslims even when it does not expect any particular hostility from them. At the same time, Muslims behave in ways that feed a rational fear of Muslims, called Islamophobia. As this book shows, this shared responsibility constitutes the basis for a discriminatory equilibrium in which both Muslim immigrants and rooted French act negatively toward each other in ways that are mutually reinforcing. Public policy, we argue, must take into account this self-reinforcing process which at best sustains discrimination, and at times even exacerbates it. Our book concludes by pointing to policies that can undermine discriminatory equilibria in order that host societies can be are enriched by religious diversity.




Claire L. Adida, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego
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David D. Laitin, Watkins Professor of Political Science at Stanford University
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Marie-Anne Valfort, Associate Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics - Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne University
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