Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Claire L. Adida, David D. Laitin, Marie-Anne Valfort
  • Cambridge, MA: 
    Harvard University Press
    , September
     288 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Amid mounting fears of violent Islamic extremism, many Europeans ask whether Muslim immigrants can integrate into historically Christian countries. In a groundbreaking ethnographic investigation of France’s Muslim migrant population, Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies explores this complex question. The authors conclude that both Muslim and non-Muslim French must share responsibility for the slow progress of Muslim integration.

Claire Adida, David Laitin, and Marie-Anne Valfort found that in France, Muslims are widely perceived as threatening, based in large part on cultural differences between Muslim and rooted French that feed both rational and irrational Islamophobia. Relying on a unique methodology to isolate the religious component of discrimination, the authors identify a discriminatory equilibrium in which both Muslim immigrants and native French act negatively toward one another in a self-perpetuating, vicious circle.

Disentangling the rational and irrational threads of Islamophobia is essential if Europe hopes to repair a social fabric that has frayed around the issue of Muslim immigration. Muslim immigrants must address their own responsibility for the failures of integration, and Europeans must acknowledge the anti-Islam sentiments at the root of their antagonism. The authors outline public policy solutions aimed at promoting religious diversity in fair-minded host societies.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Claire L. Adida is assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego.

David D. Laitin is James T. Watkins IV and Elise V. Watkins professor of political science at Stanford University.

Marie-Anne Valfort is associate professor of economics at the Paris School of Economics and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.