Islam, Jihadism, and Depoliticization in France and Germany

Anouar Boukhars
Anouar Boukhars
Anouar Boukhars Former Brookings Expert

June 30, 2009

Content from the Brookings Doha Center is now archived. In September 2021, after 14 years of impactful partnership, Brookings and the Brookings Doha Center announced that they were ending their affiliation. The Brookings Doha Center is now the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a separate public policy institution based in Qatar.


Pressures from within (Islam) and without (globalization and European integration) have made Germans and the French feel apprehensive about their national identity and culture. Both countries are visibly struggling to defuse the potentially explosive mix of nationalism and fear of the Muslim “stranger,” while defining citizenship for their marginalized and disenfranchised immigrants. The issue is no longer the building of “defensive citadels” of “Frenchness” or “Germanness,” particularly since Germany has finally come to grips with the reality that the Gastarbeiter (guest workers) are there to stay. The challenge for Germany and France today is to define what kinds of values are essential for their countries’ secular model of society and what kinds are negotiable.

Read the full article » (external link)