The Construction of Religious and Cultural Identity of Muslim Pupils in Secondary Schools in Britain and France

Sylvie Bernard-Patel


Emerging from the legacy of colonialism, Britain and France have been the sites of large waves of migration from people whose ethnic origins and religious beliefs vary. A significant proportion is of Islamic faith (about two millions Muslims in Britain and nearly five in France) and attempts to integrate Muslim minorities into the host society reveal differences in the ways the two countries accept cultural diversity and practices. While Britain bases its societal structures around multiculturalism and communitarianism, France fundamentally rejects a society based on communitarianism, advocating its societal structures around the Republican principle and value of laicité [1]. The paper derives from the findings of a cross-national comparative study that examined the educational experience of Muslim pupils and the ways cultural diversity is addressed in Britain and France (Bernard-Patel, 2010). By examining the multicultural environment of British state secondary schools and that of French republican schools, the paper aims to present an account of the ways young Muslim pupils define themselves, their sense of self-identity and the significance of cultural identity within the school environment.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n7p117

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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