The Muslim population of France reached an estimated 6.5 million in 2014. Although French law prohibits the collection of official statistics about the race or religion of its citizens, this estimate is based on several recent studies that attempt to calculate the number of people in France whose origins are from Muslim majority countries.
This implies that the Muslim population of France is now roughly 10% of the country’s total population of 66 million. In real terms, France has the largest Muslim population in the European Union.
Consequently, Islam was an ever-present topic in newspaper headlines during 2014. What follows is a chronological review of some of the main stories about the rise of Islam in France during 2014:
On January 1, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced the most anticipated statistic of the year: a total of 1,067 cars and trucks were torched across France on New Year’s Eve, a “significant reduction” from the 1,193 vehicles that were burned during the annual ritual on the same holiday in 2013.
Car burnings, commonplace across France, are often attributed to rival Muslim gangs that compete with each other for the media spotlight over who can cause the most destruction. An estimated 40,000 cars are burned in France every year. Continue reading