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Islam, Jihadism, and Depoliticization in France and Germany


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.

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