ArticlePDF Available

What factors best explain national identification among Muslim adolescents? Evidence from four European countries


Abstract and Figures

An important public debate in contemporary Europe is whether immigrant-origin Muslims will successfully integrate into mainstream society. We engage those debates by analysing national identification among immigrant-origin Muslim adolescents in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. A common argument is that the Islamic religion prevents Muslims from integrating because its practices are incompatible with mainstream European culture. However, we find that religiosity is not the most important predictor of Muslim identification. Instead, citizenship, contact with the native majority, and perceived discrimination are all as important as religiosity for predicting Muslim national identification. In addition, we find the same relationships between these variables and national identification among Muslim and non-Muslim immigrant-origin adolescents. Country of birth, host language proficiency, and socio-economic status, by contrast, are less important predictors of national identification of both groups. In sum, our findings suggest that Muslims are not necessarily a uniquely problematic population, as their national identification is best understood through dynamics that affect immigrants more broadly rather than Muslims specifically, though more research is necessary to identify specific causal pathways.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
ISSN: 1369-183X (Print) 1469-9451 (Online) Journal homepage:
What factors best explain national identification
among Muslim adolescents? Evidence from four
European countries
Lars Leszczensky, Rahsaan Maxwell & Erik Bleich
To cite this article: Lars Leszczensky, Rahsaan Maxwell & Erik Bleich (2020) What factors best
explain national identification among Muslim adolescents? Evidence from four European countries,
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46:1, 260-276, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1578203
To link to this article:
View supplementary material
Published online: 12 Feb 2019.
Submit your article to this journal
Article views: 255
View related articles
View Crossmark data
What factors best explain national identication among
Muslim adolescents? Evidence from four European countries
Lars Leszczensky
, Rahsaan Maxwell
and Erik Bleich
Research Fellow, Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim,
Mannheim, Germany;
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill,
United States;
Department of Political Science, Middlebury College, Middlebury, United States
An important public debate in contemporary Europe is whether
immigrant-origin Muslims will successfully integrate into
mainstream society. We engage those debates by analysing
national identication among immigrant-origin Muslim
adolescents in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. A
common argument is that the Islamic religion prevents Muslims
from integrating because its practices are incompatible with
mainstream European culture. However, we nd that religiosity is
not the most important predictor of Muslim identication. Instead,
citizenship, contact with the native majority, and perceived
discrimination are all as important as religiosity for predicting
Muslim national identication. In addition, we nd the same
relationships between these variables and national identication
among Muslim and non-Muslim immigrant-origin adolescents.
Country of birth, host language prociency, and socio-economic
status, by contrast, are less important predictors of national
identication of both groups. In sum, our ndings suggest that
Muslims are not necessarily a uniquely problematic population, as
their national identication is best understood through dynamics
that aect immigrants more broadly rather than Muslims
specically, though more research is necessary to identify specic
causal pathways.
Received 20 April 2018
Accepted 10 January 2019
National identication;
Muslims; integration
1. Introduction
The integration of Muslims is a topic of ongoing debates Europe (Statham and Tillie
2016). In the public discourse and in some scholarly work, Muslims are often considered
a challenge to established cultural traditions and are among the most stigmatised minority
groups in Europe (cf. Cesari 2013; Foner and Alba 2008; Helbling 2012; Sniderman and
Hagendoorn 2007). Integrating Muslims is a crucial task for European societies but, unfor-
tunately, evidence suggests there is a sub-optimal cycle of Muslims being stigmatised by
mainstream European society for not assimilating and Muslims withdrawing from main-
stream European society because they feel rejected (Adida, Laitin, and Valfort 2016). This
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Lars Leszczensky Research Fellow, Mannheim Centre for
European Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany
Supplemental data for this article can be accessed
2020, VOL. 46, NO. 1, 260276
cycle may lead to ongoing Muslim alienation and does not bode well for the future of
social cohesion across ethno-religious lines in Europe.
In this article, we explore the issue of Muslim integration in Europe through the lens of
national identication. National identication is a key aspect of social identity (Tajfel and
Turner 1986), and indicates a sense of belonging to the country. Shared national identi-
cation is important for social cohesion as it promotes bonds across ethnic or religious
divides and helps draw distinctions between those who are in and outside of the national
community (Verkuyten and Martinovic 2012). National identication is also a key com-
ponent of minoritiesintegration because it indicates the level of psychological attachment
to mainstream society (Berry 1997; Statham and Tillie 2016). While many Muslims are
well-integrated members of their societies who strongly identify with their European
nations, in many European countries Muslims are less likely than non-Muslims to identify
strongly with the nation (Fleischmann and Phalet 2018; Reeskens and Wright 2014; Schulz
and Leszczensky 2016). Therefore, the question of what factors facilitate Muslim national
identication is of urgent importance.
Understanding what drives the identication of young Muslims with their European
nations is especially important, because adolescence is a crucial stage for the formation
of identication with ethnic and religious groups (Umaña-Taylor et al. 2014). In addition,
(dis-)identication of adolescent Muslims is a particular concern in Europe because of the
growth in radicalisation among young Muslims (Bigo et al. 2014). Yet, even though there
is growing interest in young European Muslims (Leiken 2011; Voas and Fleischmann
2012), we know surprisingly little about what makes them identify (or not) with their
European nations. Many existing studies stress the importance of particular factors
such as discrimination or exclusion (e.g. Hopkins 2011; Karlsen and Nazroo 2013).
Since most such studies deal only with Muslims, however, it is dicult to assess
whether related processes are specic to Muslims or part of more general patterns of
the integration of ethnic and religious minorities. Large-scale survey research that com-
pares the factors driving young Muslim and non-Muslims national identication,
however, still is quite rare (see Fleischmann and Phalet 2018 for a recent exception).
We address this lacuna by analysing the national identication of immigrant-origin
Muslim youth in four European countries. We exploit rich survey data on nationally
representative samples of 15-year old second-generation immigrants in England,
Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, provided by the Children of Immigrants Longi-
tudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU) project (Kalter et al. 2016).
Our main goal is to determine what factors are most strongly associated with national
identication among European Muslim youth. Existing research suggests six main expla-
nations for why Muslims are more (or less) likely to identify with European nations. First,
Muslim religiosity is often described as a key barrier to identifying strongly with European
nations. One reason for this is that Islam supposedly clashes with key European norms and
values, especially among more fundamentalist adherents (Koopmans 2015; Sniderman
and Hagendoorn 2007). Second, immigrant integration factors, such as having citizenship
and being born in the country of destination, have been found to matter for immigrants
national identication (Diehl and Schnell 2006; Karlsen and Nazroo 2013; Maxwell and
Bleich 2014). Third, host language prociency is another key determinant of ethnic and
religious minoritiesnational identity, as it increases feelings of similarity and cultural
exchange (Hochman and Davidov 2014). Fourth, Muslims are often segregated into
religious or ethnic minority networks with other non-European-origin minorities (Leszc-
zensky and Pink 2017), and this resulting lack of contact with natives may make them less
likely to identify with the nation (De Vroome, Verkuyten, and Martinovic 2014; Fleisch-
mann and Phalet 2018). Fifth, there is a considerable degree of anti-Muslim sentiments in
many European societies (Helbling 2014; Savelkoul et al. 2011; Strabac and Listhaug 2008).
Perceived discrimination and rejection from the survey country is an important barrier to
national identication among minorities, because it indicates feelings of rejection and
exclusion by mainstream society (De Vroome, Verkuyten, and Martinovic 2014;
Karlsen and Nazroo 2013; Schulz and Leszczensky 2016). Finally, socio-economic status
may be important, because many Muslims in Europe are socio-economically disadvan-
taged (Heath, Rothon, and Kilpi 2014), and this lack of structural integration could
hamper their national identication (Alba and Nee 1997; Leiken 2011).
Each of these explanations has dierent implications for the future of Muslim inte-
gration in Europe. For example, if religiosity or discrimination are critical and distinctive
barriers to Muslim national identication, then there may be a fundamental enduring
barrier between Muslims and mainstream European society. However, if the country of
birth, citizenship, language prociency, or contact with the native majority are the key
for both Muslim and non-Muslim youthnational identication, then Muslim integration
may be best understood as a subset of broader immigrant and minority dynamics. Finally,
if socio-economic status is the best predictor of Muslim identication, that would suggest
the importance of structural factors that extend beyond any one ethnic, religious, or
national-origin community.
Our ndings indicate that the strongest predictors of Muslim identication are religi-
osity, citizenship, contact with the native majority, and perceived discrimination. Our
results are therefore consistent with the logic that religiosity poses a challenge for
Muslim integration, but we place that nding in a broader context by suggesting that
other factors are equally important. Moreover, we nd similar relationships among
non-Muslim immigrant-origin adolescents. For example, there is also a negative relation-
ship between religiosity and national identication among non-Muslim immigrant-origin
adolescents. Likewise, majority group contact and perceived discrimination are equally
important for Muslim and non-Muslim youthnational identication, as is having citizen-
ship. Finally, the country of birth, host language prociency and socio-economic status
were not strongly related to either Muslim or non-Muslim youthnational identication.
Taken together, our ndings therefore suggest that national identication is best under-
stood as part of dynamics that aect immigrants and minorities more broadly rather
than Muslims specically.
2. What best explains Muslim national identication?
Religion is an important source of group identity, as it consists of norms, beliefs and values
that organise how people understand their place in the world (Ysseldyk, Matheson, and
Anisman 2010). In the past decades, however, Europeans have become less likely to prac-
tice religion and increasingly likely to identify as secular or agnostic. By contrast, Muslim
Europeans are much more likely than non-Muslim Europeans to be very attached to their
religion (Foner and Alba 2008). Since Muslim parents are highly eective in transmitting
their religious identities to their children (e.g. Jacob and Kalter 2013; Malipaard and
Lubbers 2013; Soehl 2017), religiosity remains high for the descendants of Muslim immi-
grants as well (Voas and Fleischmann 2012). These higher levels of religiosity may reduce
the likelihood that Muslims identify with European nation-states, because it sets them
apart from societies that are largely secular.
Beyond levels of religiosity, Islam is also purported to be a barrier to national identi-
cation in Europe because of the way it is practiced. Among religiously observant Eur-
opeans, Muslims are more likely than Christians to hold fundamentalist and extremist
views that separate them from the rest of society (Koopmans 2015; Sniderman 2014). Pro-
minent examples are key social issues like gay rights and womens rights, on which reli-
gious Muslims often have views that conict with contemporary European norms
(Hansen 2011; Joppke 2009; Sniderman and Hagendoorn 2007). These diering values
may lead religious Muslims to consider themselves distinct from mainstream European
society and therefore less likely to feel attached to the national identity.
In short, adhering to and practicing Islam is often seen as the crucial barrier to
Muslimsintegration in West European societies:
H1: Muslims with higher levels of religiosity have lower levels of national identication in
Yet, a growing strand of literature questions whether religion is the best way of under-
standing Muslim integration in Europe (Fleischmann and Phalet 2018). Being a Muslim in
Europe is highly correlated with being an immigrant or a descendant of recent immi-
grants, with being less uent in the host language, with being segregated in ethnic minority
friendship networks and neighbourhoods, and, last but not least, with socioeconomic dis-
advantages. Therefore, it is not clear whether religion or one of these other aspects is most
crucial for understanding Muslim identity formation (Maxwell and Bleich 2014).
The country of birth and citizenship status may be crucial for understanding identity
dynamics because they create cultural and personal connections to multiple countries
and raise the possibility of competing for national allegiances (Maxwell and Bleich
2014; Phinney et al. 2006; Schulz and Leszczensky 2016). Country of birth is important
because people who are born in a country tend to be more familiar with its customs
and feel stronger attachment to its national identity (Diehl and Schnell 2006). Citizenship
is a formal legal connection to the host society and is often associated with a greater sense
of belonging and more positive identication with the host society (Ersanilli and Saharso
2011; Hainmueller, Hanggartner, and Pietrantuono 2015; Street 2017). These variables
therefore may be crucial for predicting national identication among Muslims in Europe:
H2: Foreign-born Muslims have lower levels of national identication in Europe.
H3: Muslims with citizenship in European countries have higher levels of national identi-
cation in Europe.
Language is another key ingredient of national identity because a shared language
increases feelings of similarity and cultural transmission (Phinney et al. 2006). Language
may be especially important for minorities who have cultural origins outside the nation
(e.g. most Muslims in Europe) because it is a practical way of connecting to and establish-
ing similarities with mainstream society (Alba and Nee 1997). Moreover, having more
prociency in the host country language increases ethnic minority memberssimilarity
with the native-origin population, which should result in stronger attachment to the
society. Existing research has documented these connections between linguistic and
broader cultural similarities across a range of groups and countries (De Vroome, Verkuy-
ten, and Martinovic 2014; Hochman and Davidov 2014; Phinney et al. 2006; Schulz and
Leszczensky 2016). This generates the following hypothesis:
H4: Muslims who are procient in the host country language have higher levels of national
identication in Europe.
Ethnic and religious segregation of social and residential networks and a respective lack
of contact with native majority group members is another potential lens for understanding
Muslim identication in Europe. Research has shown that adolescent Muslims tend to
have religiously and ethnically segregated friendship networks (Leszczensky and Pink
2017). In addition, many Muslims in Europe live in neighbourhoods with low shares of
non-Muslim and non-co-ethnic residents (Phillips 2010; Semyonov and Glikman 2009).
Segregation may inhibit Muslim national identication by limiting Muslimsexposure
and connection to mainstream society (Ersanilli and Saharso 2011; Schulz and Leszc-
zensky 2016), or by exacerbating Muslimsfeelings of exclusion (De Vroome, Verkuyten,
and Martinovic 2014; Leszczensky 2013; Phinney et al. 2006). Therefore, the extent to
which Muslims are enmeshed in ethnically and religiously segregated social and residential
networks and lack contact with the native majority group may aect the strength of their
national identication:
H5: Muslims with less contact with native majority group members have lower levels of
national identication in Europe.
A considerable degree of Europeans holds negative attitudes towards Muslims (Hel-
bling 2014; Savelkoul et al. 2011; Strabac and Listhaug 2008). Many studies have shown
that minority group members who perceived discrimination identify less strongly with
their nations (Badea et al. 2011; Jasinskaja-Lahti, Liebkind, and Solheim 2009; Maxwell
2009; Verkuyten and Yildiz 2007). Accordingly, European Muslims national identication
might be hampered by perceived discrimination:
H6: Muslims who perceive discrimination have lower levels of national identication in
Finally, the development of Muslim youthsnational identication might be hampered
by low socio-economic status. This line of thinking builds on the fact that Muslims are
overrepresented among Europes socio-economically disadvantaged residents, in large
part because they arrived as low-skilled guest-workers or immigrants in search of low-
skilled jobs (Otterbeck and Nielsen 2016). This unfavourable socioeconomic background
also explains most of the ethnic and religious inequalities that children of immigrants face
in European educational systems and labour markets (Heath, Rothon, and Kilpi 2014).
Socioeconomic success is often considered as a crucial condition for feeling included in
society (Alba and Nee 1997), and socio-economic disadvantages can lead to alienation
from mainstream society and therefore lower levels of national identication (De
Vroome, Verkuyten, and Martinovic 2014). This generates the following hypothesis:
H7: Muslims with worse socio-economic outcomes have lower levels of national identi-
cation in Europe.
3. Data and measures
3.1 Data
We use data from the project Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four Euro-
pean Countries (CILS4EU; Kalter et al. 2016). The CILS4EU data are nationally represen-
tative samples of immigrant-origin children as well as native-origin reference groups in
England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. We use the rst wave of the
CILS4EU data, which was collected during the academic year 20102011 and surveyed
15-year old adolescents.
In the rst wave of CILS4EU the youth completed a written questionnaire in high
schools; students who were ill or otherwise absent received a questionnaire at home. Cog-
nitive pretests and pilot studies in all four countries were conducted to develop standar-
dised and comparable measures. To achieve a large sample of adolescents with an
immigration background, schools with higher proportions of immigrant-origin students
were oversampled. Within these schools, at least two school classes were randomly
selected and all students in these classes were surveyed. Studentsparents were also inter-
viewed, and parental questionnaires were available in nonnative languages as well. If
parents did not respond, reminders were sent and parents were contacted via phone. In
total, 18,716 students in 958 classes completed the survey. A total of 11,700 parents
returned a completed questionnaire or participated via phone.
Our analysis focuses on Muslim youth who were born abroad or had at least one parent
born abroad. We focus on immigrant-origin Muslim youth because the overwhelming
majority of Muslims in Europe (97 percent of our sample) are either immigrants or chil-
dren of immigrants. Excluding students with missing information on our key variables
dened below results in 2,133 immigrant-origin Muslim adolescents.
3.2 Measures
Our dependent variable national identication is captured by studentsanswer to the ques-
tion How strongly do you feel British/German/Dutch/Swedish. Students ranked them-
selves on a four-point scale, ranging from not at all stronglyto very strongly. Similar
measurements were used in earlier large-scale studies on national identication (Fleisch-
mann and Phalet 2018; Leszczensky 2013; Maxwell and Bleich 2014).
The CILS4EU data provide a rich range of indicators for our hypotheses. To simplify
the comparisons across hypotheses we use factor analysis to construct latent variables
for religiosity, and contact with natives, as we have several indicators for each of these
factors. Being foreign-born and holding citizenship are dummy variables that indicate
whether students were born outside of the survey country and, respectively, hold citizen-
ship of the survey country. Language, perceived discrimination, and socio-economic status
are captured by metric scales (described below) that capture the respective latent con-
struct. We recode all factor variables to values between 0 and 1. Details on all variables
are found in section A of the appendix.
Studentsreligiosity is captured by the questions How important is religion to you?and
How often do you pray?
Language prociency is measured by a language ability test that
captured verbal competencies in the language of the survey country, by using synonym- or
antonym-tests (CILS4EU 2016, 40f.). Majority contact is captured by the self-assessed
share of native-origin friends and neighbours. Perceived discrimination is measured by
how often the respondent felt discriminated against or treated unfairly in four contexts:
in school, in trains/buses/trams/subway, in shops/stores/cafes/restaurants/nightclubs, or
by police or security guards. Finally, socio-economic status is based on the highest parental
value of the interval-scale ISEI-08 occupational status (Ganzeboom 2010). Students pro-
vided information on the occupation of both parents, and this has been found to be a
reliable measure (Engzell and Jonsson 2015).
Higher values on the 01 scale for each variable indicate higher religiosity, more inte-
gration, better language prociency, more contact with natives, and higher socio-econ-
omic status. In addition, country dummies indicate the country of settlement. Table B1
in the appendix provides mean values and standard deviations for all variables pooled
over the four countries as well as for the individual countries.
4. Results
4.1 Putting Muslim national identication into context
Figure 1 displays weighted mean values of national identication of immigrant-origin
Muslims in the pooled sample of all four survey countries as well as across each of the
four individual countries. For sake of comparison, native-origin youth and immigrant-
origin non-Muslims with a religious aliation are also displayed. The former ones are
dened as students who were born in the survey country to two parents born in the
country and who did not identify themselves as Muslims, the latter ones as immigrant-
origin youth with a religious aliation other than Muslim.
In the pooled sample of all four countries, immigrant-origin youth national identi-
cation is considerably weaker than those of their native peers. This pattern holds in
Figure 1. Mean Values of National Identication among Youth in England, Germany, the Netherlands,
and Sweden.
Source: CILS4EU, wave 1, weighted, full sample.
each of the four countries. Averaged across all four countries, Muslim youth also identify
less strongly with their countries of residence than their non-Muslim immigrant-origin
peers. As the country-specic bars show, this pattern holds in all countries but England.
4.2 What are the most important predictors of immigrant-origin Muslim youth
national identication?
To assess the relative importance of religiosity, being foreign-born, holding citizenship,
language, majority contact, perceived discrimination, and socioeconomic status, we esti-
mate a series of linear OLS regression models predicting national identication of immi-
grant-origin Muslim youth. Each model includes one of these factors as well as country
dummies for the country of settlement; a nal model includes all ve factors. We estimate
the model for the pooled sample of all four countries, using sampling weights and clus-
tered standard errors.
Table 1 shows the results.
M1 in Table 1 shows that in line with hypothesis 1, religiosity is negatively related to
Muslim youth national identication. M2 and M7 further support hypotheses 2, 3, 4,
and 6, showing that Muslim youth who were born in the settlement country, who are citi-
zens, who have many native friends and neighbours, and who perceive discrimination less
often identify more strongly with their European nations. By contrast, M4 and M7 show
that contrary to hypotheses 4 and 7, Muslim youth who are more uent in the host
language and who have a higher socio-economic status (SES) do not have higher levels
of national identication than those who are less uent and have a lower SES.
M8 shows that considering all factors within a single model does not considerably
change their respective coecients obtained from the individual models. Substantively,
the full model indicates that Muslims with the highest possible religiosity score identied
more than third a scale-point less with their European nations than those with the lowest
possible religiosity score. However, religiosity is neither uniquely powerful, nor the most
powerful predictor of national identication. The association between holding citizenship,
majority contact, and perceived discrimination and national identication are similar to
the relationship between religiosity and identication. In fact, Muslim youth who have
the most contact with native majority group members or who perceive the least
amount of discrimination identify about half a scale-point more with their European
nation than those with the least contact with natives or the highest amount of perceived
discrimination, making both factors the single largest predictors.
These results suggest that while higher religiosity scores correlate with lower national
identication, national identication dynamics among Muslims adolescents are also
explained by broader processes of majority group contact, perceived discrimination,
country of birth, and citizenship aecting minorities and immigrants more generally
rather than by challenges unique to religious Muslims.
4.3 Comparison with non-Muslim immigrant-origin youth
To place Muslim identication dynamics in a broader perspective, we now turn to the pre-
dictors of non-Muslim national identication. We re-estimate the full regression model
(M8) from Table 1 for immigrant-origin youth with a non-Muslim religious aliation.
If Muslim and non-Muslim youth have similar relationships between religiosity, being
Table 1. OLS Regression Models of National Identication of Immigrant-Origin Muslims in Four European Countries.
M1 M3 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8
Religiosity Foreign-born Citizenship Language Majority Contact Perceived Discrimination SES All
Religiosity 0.497***
Foreign-born 0.113
Citizenship 0.262***
Language 0.159
Majority Contact 0.569***
Discrimination 0.673**
SES 0.010
Germany 0.667***
Netherlands 0.197
Sweden 0.517***
Constant 3.369***
N 2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 2133
r2 0.088 0.072 0.082 0.070 0.093 0.077 0.069 0.127
Source: CILS4EU, wave 1, pooled sample across all four countries using sampling weights and robust standard errors + p< .10, *p< 0.05, **p< 0.01, ***p< 0.001.
foreign-born, holding citizenship, language, majority contact, perceived discrimination,
and socio-economic status, that would be further evidence that Muslim national identi-
cation dynamics are best understood as part of broader processes aecting immigrants and
minorities rather than factors specic to Islam and Muslims. Figure 2 compares the
average marginal eects obtained from this model with those obtained for Muslim
youth in Table 1. The full model is found in Table C1 in the appendix.
Figure 2 indicates that most associations are very similar for Muslim and non-Muslim
immigrant-origin youth. In fact, only the coecients for citizenship and language statisti-
cally dier between both groups. Citizenship is positively associated with both Muslim and
non-Muslim youthnational identication, but this relationship is slightly more pro-
nounced for non-Muslims (p< 0.05). By contrast, while host language prociency is not
related to Muslim youth identication, it is positively related to that of non-Muslims,
although the dierence between the two coecients is statistically signicant only at the
ten percent level (p< 0.1).
In sum, these relationships suggest that Muslim national identication is not a unique
dynamic. In fact, the basic patterns thus are remarkably similar for both groups: religiosity,
holding citizenship, majority contact, and perceived discrimination seem to be the most
important predictors of national identication, and socio-economic status the least impor-
tant one. Signicantly, the religiosity variable has a similar magnitude and direction for
both Muslim and non-Muslim youth. This oers strong support to the argument that
national identication is primarily a function of general factors aecting immigrants
and minorities, rather than of factors specic to practicing Muslims.
This argument is further supported by additional analyses regarding the dierence in
the strength of national identication between Muslim and non-Muslim immigrant-
origin youth showed in Figure 1. As shown in Table D1 in the appendix, and mirroring
Figure 1, Muslim youth identied less strongly than non-Muslim immigrant-origin
youth with their European nations. A series of regression models each including a
Figure 2. Average Marginal Eects on Muslim and Non-Muslim Immigrants-Origin YouthNational
Source: CILS4EU, wave 1, weighted, 95% condence interval. Prediction based on full model in the pooled sample.
single predictor shows that no single predictor alone accounts for this gap in identication
(also see Fleischmann and Phalet 2018). Consistent with the results presented above, reli-
giosity, citizenship, majority and perceived discrimination turned out not only to be the
most important predictors for explaining immigrant-origin youthnational identication
but also for explaining the dierence in identication between Muslim and non-Muslim
4.4 Heterogeneity among Muslims?
Our previous analyses analysed all Muslims together but European Muslims are far from a
homogenous group. One important source of heterogeneity is region of origins, as Euro-
pean and non-European origin Muslim immigrants may face dierent identication
dynamics. To address this, we restimated the full model (M8) from Table 1 for
Muslims of European and non-European descent separately. The result in Figure E1 in
the appendix shows that the general associations observed earlier are remarkably
similar for both kinds of Muslims. Another important source of heterogeneity is
whether or not Muslims are the dominant Muslim group in the host country. For
example, much of the debate around Islam in Germany is dominated by issues related
to Turkish Muslims but dynamics may be dierent for non-Turkish-origin Muslims.
Therefore, we restimated the full model separately for Muslims from the dominant and
non-dominant countries of origin within the four countries. Figure E2 in the appendix
indicates that this distinction does not matter as the relationships for both groups of
Muslims again are very similar.
4.5 Do the results hold for all four countries?
We have presented results for the pooled sample of England, Germany, the Netherlands,
and Sweden. However, Muslim identication dynamics may vary across these four
countries, because national contexts of immigrant integration and religious institutions
shape the political and social integration of Muslims in Europe (e.g. Ersanilli and
Saharso 2011; Fleischmann and Phalet 2018; Koopmans et al. 2005). Figure 1 shows
that Muslims in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden have lower levels of national
identication than Muslims in England. In fact, it is well-established that British
Muslims report high levels of national identication (Maxwell 2006; Nandi and Platt
2015), but that Muslims in several other Western European countries are less likely
than non-Muslims to identify strongly with the nation (Fleischmann and Phalet 2018;
Reeskens and Wright 2014; Schulz and Leszczensky 2016). Therefore, we again estimate
the full model (M8) from Table 1, but this time separately for Muslim immigrant-
origin youth in each of the four countries. The results are illustrated in Figure 3, which
shows the average marginal eect of each factor for every country. The respective
country-specic regression tables are found in section F of the appendix.
The country-specic models support most of the conclusions of the earlier analysis
of the pooled sample. For the most part, each independent variable has similar
relationships with national identication across the four countries.
In addition,
contact with the native majority group has a strong positive relationship with national
identication in each country but England, and perceived discrimination has a strong
negative relationship with national identication in each country but the Netherlands.
This suggests that Muslim adolescents have roughly similar identication dynamics
across the four countries and in each country the national identication dynamics
among Muslims adolescents may be best explained by broader processes related to
immigrants and minorities.
5. Conclusions
The integration of young Muslims will aect Europe for decades to come. Public debates
often contend that Muslim-specic factors such as high religiosity are a key barrier to their
identication with their European nations. If true, the persistence of high religiosity
among Muslims would be a serious hurdle to the social coherence in European societies.
This would be even more problematic if adolescentsreligiosity were a decisive factor, as
adolescents are an especially sensitive segment of the population because of their potential
to be alienated or even radicalised (Bigo et al. 2014; Leiken 2011).
Our study addresses these issues through the examination of national identication
dynamics among Muslim and non-Muslim adolescents in England, Germany, the Nether-
lands, and Sweden. Our results reveal that the factors that aect Muslim national identi-
cation are very similar to those that aect non-Muslim immigrant-origin youth. Even
religiosity, which is commonly conceived as a variable posing specic challenges with
respect to Muslim integration, was also negatively related to non-Muslim youth national
identication. Moreover, for both Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants, holding citizen-
ship and especially contact with the native majority group and perceived discrimination
are equally or more important than levels of religiosity. In contrast, the country of
birth, host language prociency and socio-economic status are less important predictors
of Muslim and non-Muslim youthnational identication under most circumstances.
These results are consistent with the analysis of France in Maxwell and Bleich (2014),
Figure 3. Average Marginal Eects on Muslim Immigrants-Origin YouthNational Identication Separ-
ated for Each Country.
Source: CILS4EU, wave 1, weighted, 95% condence interval. Predictions based on full model for each country.
although we broaden their ndings to a wider range of countries and a dierent (adoles-
cent) sample population.
Our results have several implications for understanding the integration of young
Muslims in European societies. On the one hand, our nding of a strong positive relation-
ship between citizenship status and national identication is a promising indication that
Muslim integration may be likely to improve over time as more immigrant-origin
Muslims become citizens of their European host countries. Admittedly, we cannot
control for the fact that Muslims with strong national identication may be more likely
to receive host country citizenship. Future research should explore this more closely.
However, our results are consistent with other recent research suggesting that the negative
portrayals of Muslim integration may be biased by a focus on the dramatic outliers, and do
not capture the broader positive trends for Muslim youth in Europe (Kashyap and Lewis
2013). Moreover, to the extent that Muslim and non-Muslim identication dynamics are
similar, it suggests that Muslim integration may not be as uniquely problematic as some
On the other hand, our results also provide clear evidence of a negative association
between immigrant-origin youth religiosity and national identication. Yet, this relation-
ship was similar for Muslim and non-Muslim youth, which indicates that religiosity may
be a general brake to strong national identication of minority youth in Europe instead of
a Muslim-specic factor. Echoing earlier research (Voas and Fleischmann 2012), however,
it is important to note that Muslim youth in the four countries were, on average, much
more religious than non-Muslim ones, and that unlike for Christians, this pattern of
high religiosity is remarkably constant across generations of European Muslims (Jacob
and Kalter 2013; Soehl 2017). Our ndings suggest that this particularly high religiosity
among Muslims has important ramications for their national identication, even
though its role does not generally dier from those for non-Muslims.
An important limitation of our study is that we are not able to identify speciccausal
pathways. For example, high levels of religiosity might prevent Muslim youth from
befriending natives (Leszczensky and Pink 2017; Maliepaard and Phalet 2012), and
this lack of contact with natives may in turn hamper the development of national
identication (Leszczensky 2013). On the other hand, Muslim youth who do not ident-
ify with their European nations may turn to their religion as a source of social identi-
cation, so that the causal link might run from identication to religiosity rather than the
other way around. Similar challenges exist for specifying the relationship between per-
ceived discrimination and identication. Unfortunately, disentangling causal relation-
ships is very dicult, if not impossible, with observational data such as the CILS4EU
survey. Teasing out the dierent causal pathways therefore is an important task for
future studies.
In sum, our results address some of the most prominent scholarly debates and public
discussions in Europe today by suggesting that religiosity may not be the most distinctive
or important factor related to Muslim adolescentslower attachment to European national
identities. In addition, we nd similar relationships aecting national identication for
Muslim and non-Muslim adolescents. This suggests both that Islam is not unique com-
pared to other immigrant religions, and that the degree to which Muslim youth identify
with their European nations will likely increase when integration along other dimensions
1. We also conducted analyses with individual measures of each hypothesis, the results of which
were similar.
2. We also reran the main analysis using separate measures of religiosity (importance of religion
and frequency of prayer). The results were very similar; we prefer the combined measure,
though, as it allows for more ne-grained distinctions of, especially, Muslims religiosity.
The results also very robust to including a set of dummy variables rather than a score for
assessing religiosity.
3. Sampling weights were provided by CILS4EU to correct for dierent selection probabilities
and to obtain correct estimates of population characteristics (CILS4EU 2016, 33.). We cal-
culated clustered standard errors to account for the fact that students were surveyed via, and
thus nested in, school classes. Taking into account that our four-point scale of national
identication is not strictly metric, we also estimated ordered logistic regression models.
The conclusions were the same as with OLS, but the Brant test was violated. We therefore
present the OLS results, which are also easier to interpret, especially when comparing
dierent groups or models.
4. England is the exception, where majority contact is not associated with national identi-
cation, and better socio-economic status and stronger uency in the host country language
are negatively so. It is beyond the scope of this article (and these data) to tease out a full expla-
nation for this divergence, but it is worthy of future study. In general, England is a special
case, given that unlike their co-religionists in Germany or the Netherlands, British
Muslims have high levels of British identication (e.g., Karlsen and Nazroo 2015; Maxwell
2006; Nandi and Platt 2015). These high levels of national identication may be due to
the fact that many Muslims are from countries that were part of the British empire and
have a long history of identifying with Britain. In addition, Britishis a broad imperial
multi-ethnic identity that does not have the same exclusive connotation as English,
German, or Swedish.
Disclosure Statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Adida, C., D. D. Laitin, and M. A. J. Valfort. 2016.Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-
Heritage Societies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Alba, R., and V. Nee. 1997.Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration.
International Migration Review 31: 826874.
Badea, C., J. Jetten, A. Iyer, and A. Er-ray. 2011.Negotiating Dual Identities: The Impact of
Group-Based Rejection on Identication and Acculturation.European Journal of Social
Psychology 41: 586595.
Berry, J. 1997.Immigration, Acculturation, and Adaptation.Applied Psychology 46: 534.
Bigo, D., L. Bonelli, E.-P. Guittet, and F. Ragazzi. 2014.Preventing and countering youth radicaliza-
tion in the EU. Directorate-General for Internal Policies, European Parliament.
Cesari, J. 2013.Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Muslims in Liberal Democracies.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
CILS4EU. 2016.Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries. Technical
Report. Wave 12010/2011, v1.2.0. Mannheim: Mannheim University.
De Vroome, T., M. Verkuyten, and B. Martinovic. 2014.Host National Identication of
Immigrants in the Netherlands.International Migration Review 48: 76102.
Diehl, C., and R. Schnell. 2006.““Reactive Ethnicityor Assimilation? Statements, Arguments,
and First Empirical Evidence for Labor Migrants in Germany.International Migration
Review 40: 786816.
Engzell, P., and J. O. Jonsson. 2015.Estimating Social and Ethnic Inequality in School Surveys:
Biases From Child Misreporting and Parent Nonresponse.European Sociological Review 31:
Ersanilli, E., and S. Saharso. 2011.The Settlement Country and Ethnic Identication of Children of
Turkish Immigrants in Germany, France, and the Netherlands: What Role do National
Integration Policies Play?International Migration Review 45: 907937.
Fleischmann, F., and K. Phalet. 2018.Religion and National Identication in Europe: Comparing
Muslim Youth in Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.Journal of Cross-
Cultural Psychology 49: 4461.
Foner, N., and R. Alba. 2008.Immigrant Religion in the U.S. and Western Europe: Bridge or
Barrier to Inclusion?International Migration Review 42: 360392.
Ganzeboom, H. B. 2010.International Standard Classication of Occupations ISCO-08 with ISEI-08
Scores, Version of July 27 2010, available from:
with_isei.pdf, accessed 5 December 2016.
Hainmueller, J., D. Hanggartner, and G. Pietrantuono. 2015.Naturalization Fosters the Long-
Term Political Integration of Immigrants.Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
112: 1265112656.
Hansen, R. 2011.The Two Faces of Liberalism: Islam in Contemporary Europe.Journal of Ethnic
and Migration Studies 37: 881897.
Heath, A. F., C. Rothon, and E. Kilpi. 2014.The Second Generation in Western Europe: Education,
Unemployment, and Occupational Attainment.Annual Review of Sociology, 211235.
Helbling, M. 2012.Islamophobia in the West Measuring and Explaining Individual Attitudes.
Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Helbling, M. 2014.Opposing Muslims and the Muslim Headscarf in Western Europe.European
Sociological Review 30: 242257.
Hochman, O., and E. Davidov. 2014.Relations between Second-Language Prociency and
National Identication: the Case of Immigrants in Germany.European Sociological Review
30: 344359.
Hopkins, N. 2011.Dual Identities and Their Recognition: Minority Group Members
Perspectives.Political Psychology 32: 251270.
Jacob, K., and F. Kalter. 2013.Intergenerational Change in Religious Salience among Immigrant
Families in Four European Countries..International Migration 51: 3856.
Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., K. Liebkind, and E. Solheim. 2009.To Identify or not to Identify? National
Disidentication as an Alternative Reaction to Perceived Ethnic Discrimination.Applied
Psychology 58: 105128.
Joppke, C. 2009.Limits of Integration Policy: Britain and her Muslims.Journal of Ethnic and
Migration Studies 35: 453472.
Kalter, Frank, et al. 2016.Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries
(CILS4EU) Reduced version. Reduced data le for download and o-site use. GESIS Data
Archive, Cologne, ZA5656 Data le Version 1.2.0, doi:10.4232/cils4eu.5656.1.2.0.
Karlsen, S., and James Y Nazroo. 2013.Inuences on Forms of National Identity and Feeling at
Homeamong Muslim Groups in Britain, Germany and Spain.Ethnicities 13: 689708.
Karlsen, S., and James Y Nazroo. 2015.Ethnic and Religious Dierences in the Attitudes of People
Towards Being British.The Sociological Review 63: 759781.
Kashyap, R., and V. Lewis. 2013.British Muslim Youth and Religious Fundamentalism: a
Quantitative Investigation.Ethnic and Racial Studies 36: 21172140.
Koopmans, R. 2015.Religious Fundamentalism and Hostility Against out-Groups: a Comparison
of Muslims and Christians in Western Europe.Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41:
Koopmans, R., P. Statham, M. Giugni, and F. Passy. 2005.Contested Citizenship. Immigration and
Cultural Diversity in Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Leiken, R. 2011.Europes Angry Muslims: The Revolt of the Second Generation. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Leszczensky, L. 2013.Do National Identication and Interethnic Friendships Aect one Another?
A Longitudinal Test with Adolescents of Turkish Origin in Germany.Social Science Research 42:
Leszczensky, L., and S. Pink. 2017.Intra- and Inter-Group Friendship Choices of
Christian, Muslim, and non-Religious Adolescents in Germany.European Sociological Review
33: 7283.
Maliepaard, M., and K. Phalet. 2012.Social Integration and Religious Identity Expression among
Dutch Muslims the Role of Minority and Majority Group Contact.Social Psychology Quarterly
75: 131148.
Malipaard, M., and M. Lubbers. 2013.Parental Religious Transmission after Migration: the Case of
Dutch Muslims.Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39: 425442.
Maxwell, R. 2006.Muslims, South Asians and the British Mainstream: A National Identity Crisis?
West European Politics 29 (4): 736756.
Maxwell, R. 2009.Caribbean and South Asian Identication with British Society: the Importance
of Perceived Discrimination.Ethnic and Racial Studies 32 (8): 14491469.
Maxwell, R., and E. Bleich. 2014.What Makes Muslims Feel French?Social Forces 93: 342353.
Nandi, A., and L. Platt. 2015.Patterns of Minority and Majority Identication in a Multicultural
Society.Ethnic and Racial Studies 38: 26152634.
Otterbeck, J., and J. Nielsen. 2016.Muslims in Western Europe. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh
Phillips, D. 2010.Minority Ethnic Segregation, Integration and Citizenship: a European
Perspective.Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36: 209225.
Phinney, J. S., J. W. Berry, P. Vedder, and K. Liebkind. 2006.The Acculturation Experience:
Attitudes, Identities and Behaviors of Immigrant Youth.In Immigrant Youth in Cultural
Transition: Acculturation, Identity, and Adaptation Across National Contexts, edited by J. W.
Berry, J. S. Phinney, D. L. Sam, and P. Vedder, 71116. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum.
Reeskens, T., and M. Wright. 2014.Host-country Patriotism among European Immigrants: A
Comparative Study of its Individual and Societal Roots.Ethnic and Racial Studies 37:
Savelkoul, M., P. Scheepers, J. Tolsma, and L. Hagendoorn. 2011.Anti-Muslim Attitudes in the
Netherlands: Tests of Contradictory Hypotheses Derived from Ethnic Competition Theory
and Intergroup Contact Theory.European Sociological Review 27: 741758.
Schulz, B., and L. Leszczensky. 2016.Native Friends and Host Country Identication among
Adolescent Immigrants in Germany: the Role of Ethnic Boundaries.International Migration
Review 50: 163196.
Semyonov, M., and A. Glikman. 2009.Ethnic Residential Segregation, Social Contacts, and Anti-
Minority Attitudes in European Societies.European Sociological Review 25: 693708.
Sniderman, Paul, et al. 2014.Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy: Islam, Western Europe, and the
Danish Cartoon Crisis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Sniderman, P., and L. Hagendoorn. 2007.When Ways of Life Collide. Princeton: Princeton
University Press.
Soehl, T. 2017.Social Reproduction of Religiosity in the Immigrant Context: the Role of Family
Transmission and Family FormationEvidence From France.International Migration Review
51: 9991030.
Statham, P., and J. Tillie. 2016.Muslims in Their European Societies of Settlement:a Comparative
Agenda for Empirical Research on Socio-Cultural Integration Across Countries and Groups.
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42: 177196.
Strabac, Z., and O. Listhaug. 2008.Anti-Muslim Prejudice in Europe: A Multilevel Analysis of
Survey Data from 30 Countries.Social Science Research 37: 268286.
Street, A. 2017.The Political Eects of Immigrant Naturalization.International Migration Review
51: 323343.
Tajfel, H., and J. C. Turner. 1986.The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior.In
Psychology of Intergroup Relations, edited by S. Worchel, and W. G. Austing, 724. Chicago:
Umaña-Taylor, A. J., S. M. Quintana, R. M. Lee, W. E. Cross, JR, D. Rivas-Drake, S. J. Schwartz, M.
Syed, T. Yip, and E. Seaton. 2014.Ethnic and Racial Identity During Adolescence and Into
Young Adulthood: An Integrated Conceptualization.Child Development 85: 2139.
Verkuyten, M., and B. Martinovic. 2012.ImmigrantsNational Identication: Meanings,
Determinants, and Consequences.Social Issues and Policy Review 6: 82112.
Verkuyten, M., and A. A. Yildiz. 2007.National (dis)Identication and Ethnic and Religious
Identity: a Study among Turkish-Dutch Muslims.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
33: 14481162.
Voas, D., and F. Fleischmann. 2012.Islam Moves West: Religious Change in the First and Second
Generations.Annual Review of Sociology 38: 525545.
Ysseldyk, R., K. Matheson, and H. Anisman. 2010.Religiosity as Identity: Toward an
Understanding of Religion From a Social Identity Perspective.Personality and Social
Psychology Review 14: 6071.
... A meta-analysis of various survey-based studies finds that Muslim migrants prioritize their Muslim identity over that of their receiving society (Stockemer and Moreau 2021). However, identification patterns seem to be driven less by religiosity per se than by generic immigration-related factors (for France see Maxwell and Bleich 2014; for cross-national evidence see Leszczensky et al. 2020). ...
Full-text available
Religious diversity and, in particular, the presence of Islam is often perceived as a threat to national solidarity and social cohesion across Western Europe. Reviewing and synthesizing compartmentalized research literature on religion and immigrant integration, this article scrutinizes symbolic, social, and institutional boundary processes and their underlying micro-level mechanisms. First, it showcases the relative brightness of religiously coded symbolic boundaries that is sustained by anti-Muslim prejudices among the majority as well as by the intergenerational transmission of Muslim religiosity. Second, it discusses whether and how religious differences translate into social boundaries, through both discrimination and religiously based (self-)segregation on the labor market, in education, and in social networks. Third, it traces how interactive sequences of Muslims’ claims for recognition and public policy responses have led to institutional boundary shifts under the influence of constitutional law and European human rights and anti-discrimination directives. The article concludes by discussing scenarios of how macro-level processes of symbolic, social, and institutional boundary transformation interrelate, thus raising broader questions on religious diversity and integration in Western European nation-states.
... However, it is important to note that not all Muslims are immigrants. Nonetheless, Muslims in general face discrimination in Europe, and many immigrant-origin Muslims also experience challenges when attempting to integrate into society (see also Leszczensky, Maxwell, and Bleich 2020). ...
Full-text available
Interactions between social identity groups can reduce perceptions of threatening out-groups and improve inter-group attitudes. But these interactions have an inevitable side effect: while an interaction may improve attitudes among its participants, the same interaction can increase exposure to out-groups in the proximity of the interaction, leading to increased perceptions of threat among those not participating in the interaction. With such negative externalities in mind, this paper argues that the presence of a large number of out-group members both improves and aggravates native attitudes toward out-groups in the same area, which may, in the aggregate, conceal a hot spot of anti-immigration attitudes. This study examines the effects of interaction and exposure through a series of surveys of native attitudes toward Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands. While the exposure effect was not observed, empirical analyses suggest that brief interactions tend to worsen negative attitudes toward Muslims, possibly due to their physical and religious appearances. This highlights the importance of visual cues in shaping inter-group relations, as these visual cues may prompt natives to sort out interactions based on appearance, hindering efforts to promote inter-group contact between Muslims and non-Muslims.
What kind of policy should be developed to deal with Islam in Western countries? What kind of world do we want? It turns out that we do not all agree on this. In high power distance cultures, such as Malaysia (Hofstede 1980), people believe that the best society is made up of a group of rulers and deciders who have the best positions because they are important and a group of followers who obey. This type of hierarchical system is seen as ideal because it get things done and society functions smoothly. People may willingly subscribe to it (Guimond et al. 2007). But in low power distance cultures such as the USA or Canada, people believe that the best society is one where there are limited power inequalities such that everybody can be a bit of both, rulers and followers. Aspirations for an ideal society are powerful shakers and movers. Behind Jihadi-inspired terrorism is the dream of establishing a new kind of society. As suggested by Reicher and Haslam (2016): “Both al Qaeda and ISIS deploy this strategy. A large part of their appeal to sympathizers is that they promote terror for the sake of a better society (…) an idealistic caliphate, which would unite all Muslims harmoniously” (p. 6).
Theories of intergroup relations developed in social psychology provide vital clues into the understanding of political violence and the need to go beyond an individualistic psychology (see Guimond 2023). The intergroup approach was first developed by Musafer Sherif (1966) whose research was based on a general theory of social conflict, known throughout the humanities and social sciences as realistic conflict theory (Guimond 2010; Levine and Campbell 1972). Sherif’s central theoretical proposition is that the competitive or cooperative nature of intergroup relations largely determines the attitudes and behaviors of group members toward each other. Through research conducted in a naturalistic setting at a teenage summer camp, Sherif sought to demonstrate that when young boys were divided into two groups and made to compete for scarce resources, negative intergroup attitudes and discriminatory behaviors would be observed. Within a short period of time, well-behaved boys became thugs capable of insults, threats, and aggressive behavior toward outgroup members (Yzerbyt and Demoulin 2019). In fact, life at the summer camp gradually degenerated into open warfare. In one study, the boys were settled in separate bunkhouses about a half mile apart. After introducing competitive activities between the two groups, Sherif would describe in details how everything escalated rapidly, from each side calling the other with derogatory names, to flag burning, garbage wars, fistfights, and even bunkhouse vandalizing at night, one group of boys raiding the bunkhouse of the other group. Importantly, this would happen regardless of the psychological characteristics of the boys involved, and even if the best friend from one of the boys before the study was in the opposing camp. This “best friend” became slowly but surely an “enemy,” establishing the need to distinguish conceptually between interpersonal relations and intergroup relations.
Something very unusual occurred on January 11, 2015, with the largest human gathering ever recorded on the streets of France and all over France (Boussaguet and Faucher 2017; Weil and Truong 2015). In Paris alone, there was probably more than 1.5 million people according to Le Monde (13 January 2015, see Buffier and Galinier 2015), more than at the liberation of Paris on August 26, 1944, and more than when France won its first world cup on July 12, 1998. François Hollande, President of France, who made national and international calls to make of this day an important show of force was heading the march in the middle of the street in Paris, with Angela Merkel (German chancellor) beside him, Donald Tusk from Poland (President of the European Council), Mahmoud Abbas (Palestine), and Matteo Renzi (Italy). On the right side of Hollande, there was Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (Mali), beside Benyamin Netanyahou (Israel) and further down David Cameron (the UK), and Mariano Rajoy (Spain) with more than 40 other heads of States in the back of this first line. In Clermont-Ferrand where we live, the Place de Jaude was full packed with more than 70,000 people marching. Across France, people were peacefully marching, many holding gigantic pencils or various signs: “Je suis Charlie/I am Charlie,” “Not afraid,” “Liberté, égalité, fraternité, laïcité.” The badge highlighted at the beginning of this chapter is, we believe, a particularly important definition of the meaning of the saying “I am Charlie.” If you are Jewish, you cannot be a Muslim, so this badge can be viewed as nonsense. If you are Muslim, can you be French? The proper answer from the point of view of the French universalism model is that we do not care about the groups that you belong to. You can be Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, whatever you like. The only important thing is that you are a citizen. From that perspective, you can be Charlie, French, Muslim, and Jewish at the same time; it doesn’t matter. This is what being French should mean, in theory. The point is that this badge would have little meaning if the march was in New York, London, or Montreal. But in France, it made sense.
In this chapter, we first present a new model of the role of group relative deprivation in the explanation of Islamist radicalism. This model received empirical support in a series of recent studies (see Guimond et al. 2023b). It suggests that group relative deprivation predicts activism, not radicalism, and that other factors, such as the response of the state to the demands of activists, are critical to understand the transition from activism to radicalism. Consequently, in a second part, this chapter examines the role of national policies in decreasing, or to the contrary, increasing radicalism, focusing on recent empirical evidence related to the effect of the French secularism policy.
Deadly terrorist attacks under the name of Islam have been devastating for the people all over the world including those living in Western countries, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Losing a loved one, a child, a friend, is simply one of the most tragic events in life. This is why research in this area is so important. It is a way to discover solutions that could help in preventing bloodshed. Of course, there are no easy answer.
In terms of interventions seeking to solve a social problem, three types of prevention can be distinguished: primary, secondary, and tertiary preventions (Adam-Troïan et al. 2023). For the problem of violent radicalism, primary prevention would target the general population; secondary prevention would target a subset of the population deemed to be at risk; and tertiary prevention would target specific individuals who have already been radicalized (i.e., terrorists). As suggested by Moghaddam (2005), much of the attention so far have been devoted to tertiary prevention. We hope the present work can serve to reorient current policies with a long-term goal in mind: primary prevention.
In 1939, Dollard and colleagues proposed the frustration-aggression hypothesis stating that “Aggression is always a consequence of frustration” (p. 1). This was an incredible attempt at explaining all forms of human aggression with a few basic principles. We now know that this hypothesis is not acceptable. For example, aggressive behavior can occur as a result of social learning when no frustration exists: people can simply imitate the behavior of an aggressive model and act aggressively themselves (Bandura 1973). Nevertheless, this work was useful to start thinking about the complexities of the issues. As we will see in the next chapter, there is work suggesting that some form of frustration called “relative deprivation” is among the most important factors explaining the behavior of present-day terrorists (Guimond et al. 2023). We will provide new evidence in Chap. 4 directly testing this hypothesis among Muslims and non-Muslims in France. Before that, we need to look at one of the most accomplished theories of violent extremisms that has been developed in social psychology over the last decade, the Significance Quest Theory (Kruglanski et al. 2019, 2022).
Intermarriage between different religions and ethnicities can lead to diversity and conflicts due to differing social preferences and incompatible value orientations. This is especially true when a nonreligious Han woman (87% of Chinese mainland adults are nonreligious) marries a Hui Muslim man, as Islam requires religious endogamy. The strict conversion doctrines and Islamic rules can make family life more difficult and conflicting for these Han women compared to those who have not chosen mixed marriages. This study examines how this group of Han women negotiate their identities and handle conflicts in a multicultural context. Drawing on Hermans’ Dialogical Self Theory (DST), this study identifies four strategies the women use to negotiate conflicts between their identifications during interactions with Han and Hui families, and finds that the women develop new, hybrid I-positions, as a way to achieve internal stability, continuity, and belonging while resisting uncertainty, bi-marginalization, and insecuritization. By providing insights into understanding how these individual and micro struggles help to resist macro-societal prejudice and insecuritization for those whose marriage choices do not conform to mainstream standards, this paper holds that a combination of sociolinguistic analysis and psychological perspective can help us grasp the minute and complicated variations and struggles for identity negotiation and the construction of those in mixed marriages.
Full-text available
Response and Rejoinders to Symposium on Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies - Claire L. Adida, David D. Laitin, Marie-Anne Valfort
Full-text available
Assimilation theory has been subject to intensive critique for decades. Yet no other framework has provided the social science community with as deep a corpus of cumulative findings concerning the incorporation of immigrants and their descendants. We argue that assimilation theory has not lost its utility for the study of contemporary immigration to the United States. In making our case, we review critically the canonical account of assimilation provided by Milton Gordon and others; we refer to Shibutani and Kwan's theory of ethnic stratification to suggest some directions to take in reformulating assimilation theory. We also examine some of the arguments frequently made to distinguish between the earlier mass immigration of Europeans and the immigration of the contemporary era and find them to be inconclusive. Finally, we sift through some of the evidence about the socioeconomic and residential assimilation of recent immigrant groups. Though the record is clearly mixed, we find evidence consistent with the view that assimilation is taking place, albeit unevenly.
Full-text available
How inclusive are European national identities of Muslim minorities and how can we explain cross-cultural variation in inclusiveness? To address these questions, we draw on large-scale school-based surveys of Muslim minority and non-Muslim majority and other minority youth in five European countries (Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey [CILS]; Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden). Our double comparison of national identification across groups and countries reveals that national identities are less strongly endorsed by all minorities compared with majority youth, but national identification is lowest among Muslims. This descriptive evidence resonates with public concerns about the insufficient inclusion of immigrant minorities in general, and Muslims in particular, in European national identities. In addition, significant country variation in group differences in identification suggest that some national identities are more inclusive of Muslims than others. Taking an intergroup relations approach to the inclusiveness of national identities for Muslims, we establish that beyond religious commitment, positive intergroup contact (majority friendship) plays a major role in explaining differences in national identification in multigroup multilevel mediation models, whereas experiences of discrimination in school do not contribute to this explanation. Our comparative findings thus establish contextual variation in the inclusiveness of intergroup relations and European national identities for Muslim minorities.
In contemporary Western Europe, both scholars and the public discuss the consequences of a rising share of a comparatively religious Muslim population for societal coexistence. Yet we know surprisingly little about how religion and religiosity shape social relationships. Focusing on adolescents’ friendship networks, we examine how religion and religiosity affect intra- and inter-group friendship choices. While youth should generally prefer to befriend peers of the same religion, this religious homophily should be more pronounced for highly than for less religious youth. Against the background of rising anti-Muslim attitudes in Europe, Christian and non-religious youth further may be particularly hesitant to befriend Muslim peers, and especially highly religious ones. We analysed three waves of German longitudinal friendship network data from ethnically diverse schools. Regarding intra-group friendships, while Muslim youth indeed preferred to befriend Muslim peers, Christian youth displayed no evidence of religious homophily. For Muslims, higher levels of religiosity further increased this preference. Regarding inter-group friendships, irrespective of their individual religiosity, Muslim youth were socially divided from their non-Muslim peers, as both Christian and nonreligious youth were reluctant to befriend Muslim peers. In sum, in the German context, religion itself rather than religiosity seems to matter most for adolescents’ friendship choices.