This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of August, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of broadcasting: 17 August 2018
Media outlet: France Inter, major mainstream French public radio channel and part of Radio France
Author: Chantal Delsol, French philosopher
Description of the anti-Muslim content: Into the microphones of radio France Inter, philosopher Chantal Delsol says migrants, the majority of which are Muslims, are a cultural threat. The philosopher said: “Before being an asset, migrants are a cultural threat because we are not used to living that way […].”According to Delsol, migrants cannot fully integrate into European societies (“primarily Christian”) because of their religious and cultural differences because Europe has evolved the concept of freedom, particularly for women “since the Enlightenment. When the radio show host points out that sociologists prefer the word “social inclusion” to “integration”, Delsol answers that “integration” is enough and that it would be good to impose a form of integration on them.
Myth debunked: The “problem of integration” of Muslim minorities into traditionally Christian European societies has been at the centre of the migration debate for some time. But what is the problem of integration? According to researcher Liz Fekete at the Institute of Race Relations, “the problem of integration […]lies in the interpretation of integration itself.” There is no consensus about what integration means. Across the European Union, it is generally used to refer to the migrant participation into the social and economic sphere, “maintaining identity and belief while being able to celebrate differences and work with others in civic society”, as the Cardiff University Islam UK Centre defines it. However, the word integration has been increasingly used to actually refer to “assimilation”, which is “the process whereby outsiders, immigrants, or subordinate groups become indistinguishable within the dominant host society, eventually conforming to the existing cultural norms of society.” In other words, it’s the cleansing of cultural differences between ethnic minorities in order to have a homogenous society in the nation-state – which implies the moral superiority of the culture of the majority to the one of the minority. Fekete and her team of researchers “had started out looking for a solution to ‘the problem of integration’ objectively, in ‘structural and policy barriers’, but it soon became apparent that ‘the primary barrier to integration was Islamophobia and the debate around integration, which, in turn, necessitated an investigation into the construction of an Islamophobic discourse conducted by political parties, the media and the ‘liberati’ in pursuit of an assimilationist agenda.”
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