PARIS - French Muslims of African descent are discriminated against in the job market when their job opportunities are compared with those of French Christians of African descent, a recent study has revealed.
Without that information, it's impossible to understand and fix situations where citizens are being discriminated against, Stanford political science professor David Laitin, Al Arabiya reported on Monday, November 26.
The study, the first to identify religion as the source of discrimination in France, was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Along with Laitin, it was co-authored by Claire Adida from the University of California-San Diego and Marie-Anne Valfort from Sorbonne University.
The study revealed that employers often reject applicants having Muslim names, favoring their Christian counterparts.
Analyzing data from a survey of more than 500 Senegalese Christians and Muslims living in France in 2009, they found that second-generation Muslim households made about $500 less a month than similar Christian families.
One of the applications carried a traditionally Senegalese Christian first name Marie Diouf, while another had a Senegalese Muslim given name, "Khadija Diouf".
The resumes for the Dioufs were identical except for their first names and the addition of a few activities: Khadija had worked for Islamic Relief and was a member of a Muslim scouting group, while Marie had worked for Catholic Relief and was a member of Catholic scouts.
Each competed against a third candidate, "AurÃ©lie MÃ©nard," whose name sounded like that of a typical descendant of a well-established French family with no assumed religion.
Researchers mailed out fake resumes for 300 advertized job openings. For every 38 callbacks received by Khadija, Marie got 100 callbacks.
It concluded that a Christian citizen with an African heritage is two-and-a-half times more likely to get called for a job interview than an equally qualified Muslim citizen with the same ethnic background.
The shocking results questioned the success of the French ethos of republican institutions, discriminating against the Muslim minority in job market.
The French say they believe their republican institutions are blind to ethnicity and religion and that these institutions are an antidote to discrimination, Laitin said.
We can now tell them that the results of our work show that the society is not blind to religion and that their refusal to collect data will permit this discrimination to continue.
Hiding behind the veil of republicanism is not a solution to the issue of discrimination in France, Laitin said as quoted by Stanford News.
France is home to a Muslim community of six million, Europe's largest.
Earlier in November 2012, Claude Dagens, the Bishop of Angouleme, lamented the rising sentiments against Muslims in France and within the Roman Catholic Church.
A recent IFOP poll found that almost half of French see Muslims as a threat to their national identity.
In 2004, France under Sarkozy banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.
France has also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public.
The French government also outlawed Muslim street prayers, a sight Le Pen likened to the Nazi occupation.
French Muslims have also complained of restrictions on building mosques to perform their daily prayers.
Anti-Muslim job bias was also apparent in several European countries.
In April 2012, Amnesty accused European countries of denying European Muslims jobs for their beliefs in violation with anti-discrimination legislation in Europe.
In France in 2009, the employment rate of women holding French citizenship was 60.9 percent. The rate for Moroccan women in the country was 25.6 percent and for Turkish women 14.7 percent.
Uncovering a European main concern, the study author urged a study on the causes of religious discrimination help inform the debate over cultural diversity and nationalism.
"Just by finding discrimination doesn't tell us what the remedy is," Laitin said.
"But we might be able to find what set of policies does better for social integration.
I don't want to say the French have failed with republicanism. But it's clear they have not realized their ideals," he added.