Islamophobia in France: 2022 Presidential Elections and the Criminalization of Muslim Civil Society

06 Apr 2022


French citizens will be heading to the polls in April 2022 to vote for the country’s next president. Islamophobia appears to be a running theme throughout the views of many of the candidates, including current President Emmanuel Macron, centrist candidate Valérie Pécresse, and far-right contenders Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour.

Over the last few years, French Muslims have found themselves on the receiving end of government legislation that has led to widespread discrimination. The effects of such policies have resulted in the criminalization of French Muslim civil society and curtailed the human rights of French Muslims, especially women. Last year, the French government adopted Macron’s anti-separatism bill, which several human rights organizations have criticized as problematic as it targets and “casts generalized suspicion against people of the Muslim faith,” and “indirectly suggests a link between this group and foreign or terrorist threats.” Further, Macron’s government dissolved the leading anti-Islamophobia organization in the country in addition to shutting down a number of mosques and Muslim organizations. Additionally, there’s been increasingly hostile rhetoric coming from the country's leaders essentially rendering French Muslims as untrustworthy second-class citizens.

Scholars, commentators, and writers have all noted how the current political climate in France has involved a surge in the far-right and an overall massive shift right-ward in the country. As the election campaign wages on, many of the candidates are instrumentalizing anti-Muslim bigotry to gain votes. Join The Bridge Initiative as we speak with leading scholars and activists to understand where France is headed and what all of this means for French Muslims.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 11:15pm