The Effects of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Radicalisation Policies on Muslim Populations in France: A quantitative Study

This study is based on a sample of 927 interviews: 426 with people who identify as Muslim and 501 with people who have no connection with Islam.

Overall, respondents from the Muslim sample trusts French state and social institutions (the army, social security, school, council, justice system, etc.) as much as, or slightly more than, the control group. Muslim respondents place politics and the media at the bottom of the trust scale, as does the control group. There are two institutions that Muslims trust less than the control group does: law enforcement and the media.

Muslims feel discriminated against in all areas covered by this study (health, school, housing, policing, employment, daily life), and to a much greater degree than non-Muslims: 2.2 times more when looking for housing; 3.2 times more at school; 5.3 times more in interactions with the police.

Overall, the Muslim group feels exposed to counter-terrorism (through law enforcement) and counter-radicalisation (through youth workers and social workers) as much as the control group.

The Muslim sample even reports slightly less contact with the police and gendarmerie for counter-terrorism than the control sample. However, young Muslim men report being in contact with youth workers twice as much.

Muslims and non-Muslims consider the contact with youth workers and social workers to be justified as a whole; however, police stops appear less justified to Muslims, who feel they are treated significantly worse than the control group does.

Many Muslim respondents feel stigmatised by counter-terrorism: they say they are deliberately chosen in interactions with police and public officials related to counter- terrorism, most often because of their origin or skin colour (2.5 times more than the control group).

Having experienced discrimination in the past five years systematically lowers scores for trust in institutions: the more someone has been discriminated against, the less trust they have in institutions—all institutions combined.

Although this general trend concerns both the control group and the Muslim group, it is systematically more pronounced among Muslims.

The factor that significantly affects trust is not religion, age, social class, or gender, but being discriminated against.

Muslims who have been subjected to discrimination are more likely to change their behaviour in response to counter-terrorism measures. Muslims’ greater propensity to change their behaviour in response to counter-terrorism measures is therefore not due to their being Muslim, but to the fact that Muslims are over-represented among victims of discrimination.