Sabrina Harris - Comparative Study of French and German Integration of Muslim Immigrants

by Sabrina Harris 
Department of Political Science
After World War II, Europe recruited temporary guest workers to rebuild the war torn countries. Today, over 10 million Muslims live in Europe, largely in France and Germany. However, recent violent clashes between host populations and Muslim immigrants demonstrate the failure of state policies to integrate them. Using France and Germany as case studies, this thesis deals with the question of which state policies lead to fuller integration of immigrant (especially Muslim) populations? I argue that successful integration, understood as mechanisms for mediating conflicts between immigrant interests and the national interests of the host country, is shaped by the following factors:  political rights (voting, citizenship), economic opportunity (employment, welfare access), and socio-cultural incorporation (church-state relations, education).
Going beyond existing theoretical approaches to the “Muslim question”, this research makes country-specific policy recommendations that would help Germany and France to better address the issue of integration of long-term immigrants (especially Muslim ones) into their societies. These policy recommendations are country specific in order to accommodate each country’s national and historical experiences with issues of nationality and church-state relations.
Sabrina Harris is a graduate student on Political Science and she also obtained her B.A. from Lehigh University in May 2006 in both International Relations and French. Beyond academics, Sabrina serves as a Gryphon (Resident Advisor), is a member of the Leadership Lehigh program, and a Student Associate at the Martindale Center. Upon graduation, she plans to work in the non-profit sector in the field of international relations or in higher education.