Mohammedanism or Islam: Deconstructing the image of Islam in the west, France as a case study

Abderrahim Ait Abdeslam


The present paper aims at studying the image of Islam in the west and how it has been constructed from the ancient to the modern times. More specifically, many western scholars, journalists, and politicians draw their conceptions of Islam and Muslims from a plethora of literature written by western scholars when they studied the Orient. That literature is imbued with various depictions which are colored with barbarism, conquer, and domination (Said 1977). This is done without having deep insights about Islam.

France, as a case in point, is the first European country where the majority of Muslim population lives, and wherein the religion of Islam is belligerently attacked, particularly with issuing the ban of ostensible religious symbols in the public sphere through enforcing the law of “laicité” or secularism (Mattei and Aguilar 2016).  This paper adopts a critical approach to the image of Islam in France through going over some of the attitudes held by prominent French scholars and parties towards Islam. Having deep insights into these views, we, Muslims, will be able to enhance and communicate the right image of Islam to the French people.  This can be done by referring to the view of Tariq Ramadan (2004, 2010, 2012) that Islam is the religion of peace and that Muslims in France are law-abiding. Their problems, however, lie in their marginalization and poor services they are offered.


Islam, West, Image, France.

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