In conjunction with the crisis of the French President Emmanuel Macron’s statements regarding the offensive cartoons of the Prophet of Islam, may peace and blessings be upon him, boycott campaigns and statements critical of the French position, the search for numbers and ratios appears to be of double significance and significance, as it provides an attempt to explain French public opinion and its interaction with repeated tensions.
Al-Jazeera Net searched the numbers of search engines and Wikipedia pages in different periods of time, and this report provides the reader with a digital summary, in addition to a set of statistics and surveys on Islam in France, and the positions of the French towards it.
The results shown by the Google search engine from France and the French Wikipedia platform were dominated by a huge increase in the search for vocabulary related to Islam to a large degree more than many times the usual periods, and this happened precisely with 3 time periods: the beginning of 2006, the beginning of the year 2015, and the period Current of the current year 2020.
The search results in French and from France with words such as “Islam”, “Mahomet” and “mahomet caricature”, show a huge digital increase in conjunction with the publication of the offensive cartoons, their republishing and reactions to them.
The search for Islam increases by an average of 20 to 70 times than the search for Christianity and Judaism during the same period. Although the percentage varies greatly, it mostly records an increase of 50 times – compared to Christianity and Judaism – in the period since 2004 until now, and reaches its highest peak in the months of April and May of this year.
The search for the word “Muhammad” in its various forms (Mahomet and Muhammad) increased from the search for “Christ” in its various forms (Jésus Christ and Jésus) and the word “Moses” by 8% (6% for the second and 3% for the third).
The search for the Prophet of Islam increased at certain times when these cartoons were published or re-published in 2006, 2015 and 2020.
However, this vocabulary remained far from the most used search words – in general – in most periods, while the search words were dominated by sports, artistic and even political topics locally, and the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which published the offensive cartoons, was the first to search the news for the year The term “Recette Ramadan”, used to search for recipes for Ramadan food, was among the most used for the year 2013, which has been an exception over the past ten years for research related to Islam in France. Some years have seen extensive use to search for figures of Arab and Islamic origins who have assumed official positions in France.
Research on Islam in the period from 2004 until now is associated with other words such as “dream / vision of Islam” (rêve islam), “Islam and women” (femme islam), “Islam and prayer” (islam priere), prayer, marriage, the Qur’an, Muslims, interpretation of dreams, hadith, history and Ramadan And others.
In the search for religions and religious figures in the French Wikipedia Encyclopedia, and noting that the results are not specific to France only, the results show a direct correlation between the search rates for the Islam page in French and the page of Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) in French, and between the events of offensive cartoons of the Holy Prophet. While a similar link does not appear in the search for Christianity and the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as two examples.
In general, the search for Islam in Wikipedia in French is up to a third more than with Christianity, and weak compared with Judaism, while the search for the Prophet Muhammad in French was nearly twice as large as Jesus Christ, and many times more compared to the Prophet Moses, may blessings and peace be upon them.
Searches for the page of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, on the French Wikipedia in conjunction with the past three months, have reached more than 5 times the normal average for searches in normal times, which is the highest search rate since 2015.
Numbers and ratios
In a survey for the year 2017, the Pew Research Foundation estimated the number of Muslims in France at 5 million 761 thousand, which is equivalent to 8.8% of the population in the country, and the majority of Muslims in France belong to the Sunni sect and have immigrant origins, and the French Institute for Public Opinion says that An increasing percentage of 39% of Muslims observe the five daily prayers, fast Ramadan and visit mosques, according to the survey, whose results were published in the daily La Croix in 2008.
A 2006 study by the Pew Research Center says that Muslims in France have the most positive opinions about their citizens of other religions, and according to a survey conducted by the French Institute for Public Opinion in 2020, 40% of Muslims expressed the view that their religious beliefs were more important than the values of the Republic. French, more than twice the proportion of the French public (17%). The rate is especially high among the younger generations and those under 25.
In 2019, the French Institute for Public Research (IFOP) conducted a study from 29 August to 18 September of the same year on a sample of 1007 Muslims aged 15 and over. According to the study, 40% of Muslims in France say they are subject to discrimination, and more than a third of these cases were in the past five years, indicating an increase in mistreatment of Muslims in France in recent years.
The survey found that 60% of veiled women face discrimination, while 37% of Muslims in France have been victims of verbal harassment or defamatory insults. The study also revealed that 44% of Muslim women who do not wear the hijab found themselves victims of verbal harassment or defamatory insults.
The survey found that 13% of incidents of religious discrimination occurred at police checkpoints, 17% occurred during job interviews, and 14% of incidents occurred when victims were looking to rent or buy housing. The French Institute for Public Research stated that 24% of Muslims have been subjected to verbal aggression during their lives, compared to 9% among non-Muslims. In addition, 7% of Muslims were physically assaulted, compared to 3% of non-Muslims.
A Chatham House poll conducted in February 2017 of 10,000 people in 10 European countries showed that a majority (55%), on average, oppose further Muslim immigration, with opposition emerging particularly in Austria and Poland. Hungary, France and Belgium, and in contrast, a poll published in 2019 by the Pew Research Center showed that 72% of the French surveyed have a positive opinion of Muslims in their country, while 22% have a negative opinion.