It is not Islam that has become radicalised, but the criminals who have become Islamizedby Giuseppe Terranova - 2016.11.21
If French prisons are overflowing with immigrants and foreigners with French citizenship, it does not necessarily mean that this group tends to commit crimes more than others do. A brain-teaser that we addressed with Laurent Mucchielli, sociologist and founder beyond the Alps of the Observatoire Régional de la Délinquance et de contexte sociaux (ORDCS).
Immigrants make up 6.4% of the French population but account for 18% of that in prisons. To this number we must add French citizens of foreign origin for whom there is no official data as France prohibits ethnic statistics. We do know, however, that 27.5% of French prisoners asked for a single and hearty single meal at daybreak during Ramadan. Why this figure?
The answer is very simple. The prison population is not the mirror image of the criminal one. For the simple reason that the majority of immigrants, in contrast to those from privileged social classes, do not have good lawyers and the financial resources to defend themselves in court. This is why they are more likely than average to end up in prison. Note, however, this does not mean that the judges are racists. The issue is more subtle as they tend to apply the prison sentence more frequently for the accused that do not have so-called “garanties de raprésentation”, such as an address or fixed employment. Not to mention police investigations. Inspections and the checkpoints are often influenced by the ethnic and social characteristics of the suspect. The penitential institutions are nothing more than the last link in a chain of discrimination. They are the punishment for the excluded, marginalised and the poor, particularly if foreign.
According to a recent ICSR study from London, 60% of foreign European fighters converted to Isis in prison. Are French prisons also a breeding ground for terrorists?
Yes and no. It should come as no surprise when it happens. Because the majority of prisoners do not have future prospects. They have nothing to lose. They know that they have no future; they live in a supervised enclosure with very little chance of reintroduction or integration into society. For this reason, a section of this population see Islamic ideology as a form of comfort and redemption that fills the void of a fragile existence without clear goals.
At this point, we could think be tempted to think that you share Olivier Roy's ideas: it is not Islam that has become radicalised but the criminals who have become Islamized.
Yes. It is grotesque to make the connection between a devote Muslim and a potential terrorist. The majority of youths who become radicalised have identity issues in the first place. In Islam they find a reason for being, rules and behaviour to follow and respect that convey a sense of reassurance and bring order to chaotic and goalless daily life. It should be said that these young Islam converts do not all become ruthless butchers and the instigators of mass slaughter. Many back out after having taken part in caliph training programmes in camps in Syria or Iraq. Those that continue are undoubtedly the most fearsome, willing to do anything as complete fanatics. I would like to say one more thing. In contrast to what you may think, the potential terrorists are both male and female. The dynamics that lead to conversion are the same (lack of identity), whilst the means of manifestation is somewhat different.
That’s why many countries bring back mandatory military service
According to a study of the social effects of conscription in Israel by Ori Swed, an Israeli-born professor of sociology at the University of Texas, and his colleague John Sibley Butler, service in the Israel Defense Forces “cultivates new skills (human capital), new social networks (social capital), and new social Read More.
There is no one unique integration for all immigrants
Adriano Cancellieri is a Sociologist at Iuav University in Venice and has just published Migrants and Urban Space in the latest issue of Il Mulino magazine. Q: In one of your recent articles, to summarize briefly, you speak about the integration of immigrants as being all or nothing. Can you explain Read More.
Second generations plague immigration
Children of Maghrebi immigrants in France are unemployed in record numbers. Compared to French-born citizens, the number of second-generation North Africans, within 10 years of finishing high school who are unemployed is double that of their native born peers. A level of disparity exists between young people “Made in France” and Read More.
Second-generation immigrants in the Italian schools are on the increase
In the Italian schools, nearly 60% of pupils of foreign origin were born in Italy: equal to almost 479,000 out of a total of about 815,000 foreign students. Their number is continuously increasing. In the last five years (from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016) it grew by 43.2%, while over the previous Read More.
4 characteristics of second-generation immigrants
In 2015, France recorded 7,3 million second-generation immigrants. This amounts to 11% of the country’s total population. At least, that is the data recently released by France’s national institute of statistics, INSEE. Four relevant characteristics of these immigrants emerged in the report. 1) The majority are very young. In fact, 47% is Read More.
A rare success story for second-generation immigrants
The children of non-EU immigrants resident in Denmark study as much as their native contemporaries. Amongst the second generations of those aged 20-29 years, 39% of males are enrolled in training, university, specialisation, or doctorate courses. In other words, a figure that is identical to that for Danish citizens in Read More.