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IHT: Sarkozy's question: Who is European?

Nicolas Sarkozy, a leading contender for the French presidency in elections next spring, said Friday that he would seek a radical restructuring of European Union institutions and the suspension of membership talks with Turkey if he won.

His most controversial proposal, and one that appeared to be directed at French voters more than other EU nations, was that the Union define its borders to restrict expansion - effectively blocking Turkish membership.

Turkey has presented unique problems in the enlargement debate because of its majority Muslim population.

"We now have to say who is European and who is not," said Sarkozy, interior minister in the current government. "Leaving this question unanswered is no longer possible."

Sarkozy's speech directly challenged Ségolène Royal, currently the leading contender among Socialists seeking their party's nomination. The Socialists shied away from the issue of European integration after the French referendum on the European constitution provoked a deep rift last year. Royal, who like Sarkozy campaigned for approval of the constitution, has remained silent on Turkish membership since the charter was rejected.

But Sarkozy, who has already made immigration a key election issue, has now forced Europe to the forefront of the campaign.

"I have no intention of leaving Europe out of this debate or hiding my position," Sarkozy said.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey has presented unique problems in the enlargement debate because of its majority Muslim population.

Turkey has resulted unique problems in the enlargement debate because of the racism that Sarko is willing to talk advantage of.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:19:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

its majority Muslim population

I thought Turkey was secular? Isn't the problem that it's large and poor?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we substitute "scary and brown" for Muslim, does it help explain things?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. what you mean. My jib was not addressed at you. We're both cutting through bullshit at crosspurposes.

Aren't you supposed to take care of your horses? Aren't they goign to be pissed off if you aren't around. I hear they have long memories?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:49:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Secular doesn't mean irreligious.

Isn't even France a "majority catholic" country? AFAIK, the Czech Republic was just about the only country where the Communists' "official atheism" was successful.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:16:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define irreligious
Define catholic

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jesus, Jerome.

Turkey is a secular country, but its population is majoritarily Muslim.

Wikipedia: Religion in Turkey

Nominally, 99% of the population is Muslim. Most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. About 15-20% of the population are Alevi Muslims. There is also a small but significant Twelver Shi'a minority, mainly of Azeri descent.

...

Unlike in other Muslim-majority countries, there is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. Even though the state does not have any/or promote any religion, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds is taken very seriously. The Turkish constitution recognises freedom of religion for individuals, and the religious communities are placed under the protection of state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process, by forming a religious party for example. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. However, the religious sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties.

The mainstream Hanafite school of Sunni Islam is largely organised by the state, through the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Department of Religious Affairs). The Diyanet is the main Islamic framework established after abolition of the Ulama and Seyh-ul-Islam of the old régime. As a consequence, they control all mosques and Muslim clerics. Imams are trained in Imam Hatip schools and at theology departments at universities. The department is criticized by some Alevi Muslims for not supporting their beliefs and instead favoring the Sunni faith.

Germany is a secular but Christian country: it even collects church tax and keeps track of people's religious affiliation in the census. Spain is secular but Catholic, so are Poland and Italy, and Ireland.

How do you want us to define "Catholic"? Being baptised? Being confirmed? Choosing a church wedding? Regular Church-going? What are INSEE statistics on religious self-identification in France?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:32:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While we look for INSEE figures, if they exist...

Wikipedia: Religion in France

France has not collected religious or ethnic data in its censuses since the beginning of the 3rd Republic. An 2004 IFOP survey tallied that 44% of the French people do not believe in God; contrast with 20% in 1947. A study by the CSA Institute conducted in 2003 with a sample of 18,000 people found that 27% consider themselves atheists, and 64.3% Catholic compared to 69% in 2001. Furthermore 8.7% (5,000,000 people) belonged to some other religion.

There are an estimated 3-5 million Muslims, 1 million Protestants, 0.6 million Buddists, 0.53 million Jews, 0.15 million Orthodox Christians as of 2000 figures.

These studies did not ask the respondants if they were practicing or how often they did practice if they were active in the leity.



Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So would you describe France as "catholic"?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...the answer is self-evident. :p
by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Predominantly Catholic, yes. And secular.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you'll get grief in France from such an assertion. And not just from me.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:24:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary it.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And make sure to include the fact that 2/3 of French self-identify as Catholic.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which means that they'll have a wedding ceremony in a church in addition to that at the town hall (the only one with legal value - you cannot get married in a church like in Spain, you have to go to the town hall before in any case), and that will be the only time they've been to church in their adult lives (well, except for other weddings...).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if that's the French understanding of the meaning of Je suis Catholique what is wrong with saying La France est Catholique?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La France est Catholique! You're stepping on far-right ground there. It's like Franco talk in Spain.

People say they're Catholic because they were baptized Catholic, and maybe went to catechism, etc. The Church still runs the Birth, Marriages, and Deaths rituals, so people use the Church on those occasions. It's not dissimilar to British attitudes to the Anglican Church. (I'm talking about attitudes, not institutional issues of Church and State).

France is kinda Catholic, but secularism permeates society deeply.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, La France est une espèce de Catholique.

What you describe is no different from the way things are in Spain, but still Catholic attitudes (traditional values?) inform most politicians on the right and even some on the left. It's just that Spain doesn't carry the banner of world secularism.

There are funny stories about Spain where the Church will often claim over 90% of all Spaniards are catholic in order to get more political clout, on the basis of the number of people baptised. Apparently some guy got sick of this, tried to get sticken off the books (which don't exist in a centralised way, anyway, apparently) and when he realised the church would not officially declare him an apostate he founded an association excomunión y liberación [a pun on comunión y liberación, a political/religious outfit for young catholics and on the similarity of communion and excomunication which is absent in English].

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: religion in Spain
Roman Catholicism is the most popular religion in the country. According to several sources (CIA World Fact Book 2005, Spanish official polls and others), from 80% to 94% self-identify as Catholics , whereas around 6% to 13% identify with either other religions or none at all [citation needed]. Even though so many Spainards identify themselves as Catholics (80%), only 40% believe in God and 28% go to church [citation needed]. It is important to note, however, that many Spaniards identify themselves as Catholics just because they were baptized, even though they are not very religious at all. According to recent surveys (New York Times, April 19, 2005) only around 18% of Spaniards regularly attend Mass. Of those under 30, only about 14% attend.
Depending on what conclusions you want to draw from it, there's nothing wrong with saying Spain is a Catholic country. It's also very secular.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
INSEE: Pratique religieuse selon l'âge (2005)INSEE: Religious Practice according to age (2005)

2005

Pratique religieuse régulière / Regular religious practicePratique religieuse occasionnelle / Occasional religious practicePas de pratique, mais le sentiment d'appartenir à une religion / No practice, but feeling of belonging to a religionNi pratique ni sentiment d'appartenance / No practice or feeling of belonging

Femmes / WomenHommes / MenFemmesHommesFemmesHommesFemmesHommes
15 à 24 ans9,18,714,613,133,131,043,047,1
25 à 39 ans9,48,019,615,839,035,631,140,5
40 à 59 ans11,57,921,820,039,640,326,030,0
60 ans ou plus23,413,528,923,334,140,812,821,6
Ensemble14,09,422,218,636,937,726,133,5


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Studies indicate that about 20% of Americans attend church weekly. The numbers are complicated by gross exaggeration in self-reported participation, by a factor of about 2.
by asdf on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 02:18:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing, the INSEE really does not have statistics on religious affiliation.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it amazing? It's illegal!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be illegal for the census to keep track of religion and ethnicity, but the INSEE is a prime provider of data for sociological research.

Or maybe there is another institution doing sociological research? I realise now in Spain we have two: the INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, equivalent to INSEE) and the CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas, equivalent to whom?).

Denying reality by law doesn't make it go away. The INSEE does ask people whether they are religious and to what degree (see my comment in a parallel subthread) but is barred by law from probing further and so produces an incomplete study.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France has long decided that this information has no relevance, and has adopted laws that formalise this, and refuse to give relevance to that information. You come with different opinions on that topic, but that's just your opinion. France disagrees that that information should be made available, because that has social and political consequences. It's our democratic choice.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:40:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Institutionalised ignorance is all the rage all over the world, eh?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 09:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And forbidding to shout "fire" in theaters is a dreadful attack on freedom of speech.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thou shalt not ask certain empirical questions about French demographics.

This, however, does not prevent everyone and their grandmother from making assertions (necessarily unsubstantiated) regarding the existance or effects of ethnic and religious factors in French society and politics.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, there is another institute, INED [Institut National d'Études Démographiques, National Institute for Demographic Studies] but it also has no statistics on religious self-identification that I can find.

It does have a journal which, in 1996, published a couple of articles on the topic. (PDF). The cover article, "Describing Minorities" (Décrire les minorités) is written by  demographer Michel Louis Levy, in whose blog I found a recent related entry where he says "France has a cruel lack of surveys on religious behaviours, but it would be catastropic to even consider a census".

Michel Louis Levy: Ethnic  counting and positive discrimination (3 July 2006)Michel Louis Levy: Comptage ethnique et discrimination positive (3 juillet 2006)
......
There are in all this terrifying confusions. We run the risk of seeing the launch of a new and absurd press campaign, analogous to that over ethnic categories, which Le Monde, already, and Le Nouvel Observateur have waged ten years ago, with the help of Hervé Le Bras, against Michèle Tribalat. In my capacity as Communication Director of the INED, I tried to defend her in several papers and interventions, among them the editorial of number 309 of Population & Sociétés, entitled "Describing Minorities". "In the near past", I wrote, "innovative surveys have tackled in good conditions topics with a reputation for being delicate, sexual behaviours and integration of immigrants. These encouraging experiences show that as long as the law, the rules of the craft and  professional ethics are respected, there are no taboo subjects".Il y a dans tout cela de redoutables confusions. Nous risquons de voir se déclencher une nouvelle et absurde campagne de presse, analogue à celle sur les catégories ethniques, que Le Monde, déjà, et Le Nouvel Obs avaient menée il y a dix ans, avec l'aide d'Hervé Le Bras, contre Michèle Tribalat. En tant que Directeur de la Communication de l'INED, j'avais tenté de défendre celle-ci dans plusieurs papiers ou interventions, dont l'éditorial du numéro 309 de Population & Sociétés, intitulé "Décrire les minorités". "Dans le passé récent", écrivais-je, "des enquêtes novatrices ont abordé dans de bonnes conditions des sujets réputés délicats, les comportements sexuels et l'insertion des immigrés. Ces expériences encourageantes montrent que dès lors que sont scrupuleusement respectés la loi, les règles de l'art et la déontologie professionnelle, il n'y a pas de sujet tabou".
Any survey implies the agreement of the people questioned, and cannot give rise to other than statistical results. France has a cruel lack of surveys on religious behaviours, but it would be catastropic to even consider a census. In the same way, one can make surveys on declared ethnic origins, and even on felt discriminations, as long as these surveys remain specialised. But to classify people according to ethnic origin, within the compulsory survey of the census, can only cause mistrust of public statistics, which have no need for this additional suspicion.Toute enquête suppose l'accord des personnes interrogées, et ne peut donner lieu qu'à des résultats statistiques. La France manque cruellement d'enquêtes sur les comportements religieux, mais il serait catastrophique de y consacrer la moindre question du recensement. De la même façon, on peut faire des enquêtes sur les origines ethniques déclarées, et même sur les discriminations ressenties, dès lors que ces enquêtes restent spécialisées. Mais classer les gens selon l'origine ethnique, dans l'enquête obligatoire qu'est le recensement, ne peut que susciter la méfiance envers la statistique publique, qui n'a pas besoin de cette suspicion supplémentaire.
......


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:28:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, and this is a conversation we'd had I think with Matt in NYC, if we consider like the EU does, that Northern Cyprus is not an independent state but part of the EU as "the Republic of Cyprus", then the EU already has a Muslim "province" (I chose "province" for lack of a better word I can think of).
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey has presented unique problems in the enlargement debate because of the large number of Turkish immigrants in Germany and other countries who would have to be given fuller rights [like, for instance, voting rights in local elections] and because of the implications of freedom of movement when there are already large Turkish communities in European countries.

Now, any suggestion that the constituent parties of the  European People's Party / European Democrats (like Sarkozy's UMP) are not racist and reactionnary is naive. Especially the Christian Democrat part of it was very noisy about "Europe is a Christian Club" in the EU Constitution debates.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:13:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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