Maslaha was commissioned to research some of the social inequalities Muslim communities in Marseille face and possible practical solutions that could be created in partnership with those communities. This builds on our previous work in Paris, where we replicated our I Can Be She project with a local partner who worked with young Muslim women from the suburbs of Paris, focusing on educational achievement, employment and identity.
There is a particular framework social, cultural and political within which any work focusing on Muslim communities in France has to be considered. The constitutional presence of laicitie, or secularism, means any practical work has to be carried out through the prism of culture as well as issues of integration, or tackling discrimination, or fostering an environment of equality of opportunities.
Information for national statistical data is not collected on the basis of religious or ethnic affiliation. You are either French or foreign-born. There is also a tension between the concept of laicitie and the demand for Muslims to be more French, and a sense of inequality, discrimination and lack of opportunity felt by Muslim communities.
The research focused on the needs of Muslim communities in Marseille and the organisations who were tackling these inequalities as well as looking at wider civil society. Interviews were held with non-profits, cultural organisations, health workers, youth workers, and regional arts organisations.