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|Ethnicity in Paris|
The Paris metropolitan area has a large Maghrebi (Arabs and Berbers) population, in part as a result of French colonial ties to that region. As of 2012 the majority of those of African origin living in Paris come from the Maghreb, including Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. There were 30,000 people with Algerian nationality, 21,000 persons with Moroccan nationality, and 15,000 persons with Tunisian nationality in the city of Paris in 2009. In addition, there were thousands of Maghrebi Jews who fled the Maghreb as a consequence of the post-World War II Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries.
Naomi Davidson, author of Only Muslim: Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France, wrote that as of the mid-20th Century "The "community" of Algerians, Moroccans, and Tunisians, however, was certainly not monolithic, as even the police acknowledged in their discussion of the North African "populations" of the Paris region".
According to French police records, there have been Algerian and other North African residents of the 18th, 19th, and 20th arrondissements of Paris for nearly a century.
Many North Africans settled in the city in the 1920s, making up the largest immigrant group to the city during that period. Clifford D. Rosenberg, the author of Policing Paris: The Origins of Modern Immigration Control Between the Wars, wrote that in the post-World War I period Muslims from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia may have only adopted a North African identity after coming to Paris, and this identity "was, at best, partial and bitterly contested", citing conflict between the Algerians and Moroccans in the city.
Andrew Hussey, the author of Paris: The Secret History, wrote that the North Africans were also the "most politically contentious" immigrant group and that Parisians perceived the Algerians as criminals, believing that they "were capricious and sly and given to random violence." Even though the Algerians were French citizens, they perceived as not being French due to racial and religious reasons. Many North African residents took a more negative view of France after the Rif War occurred.
The areas in Paris settled by North Africans in the 1920s and 1930s were rue des Anglais, Les Halles, and Place Maubert. In addition a Moroccan community appeared in Gennevilliers and Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine also received North Africans.
In 1945 French authorities counted 60,000 North Africans. Of them, they included 50,000 Kabyles, 5,000 to 6,000 Chleuh, Algerian Moroccan Arabs, and small Tunisian population. The numbers of students had decreased from the period between the World Wars, and only a small number of the north Africans included intellectuals, doctors, and lawyers. Hussey stated that initially North Africans settled the same historic communities as they did before. Under French colonial rule, Algeria was a French "department", meaning that Algerian subjects were given significant rights of migration to the French mainland. After 1947 until Algerian Independence in 1962, all Algerians were French citizens with full rights of migration, similar to the situation of Puerto Ricans in the United States.
Naomi Davidson, the author of Only Muslim: Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France, wrote that there was a post-World War II perception that North Africans were taking over certain neighborhoods but that this was not accurate. She stated that the police records of North African immigrants from 1948 to 1952, which had their basis in employment figures and ration cards, were "not entirely reliable", and that "it is difficult to establish with any certainty precisely where the different North African immigrant social classes lived in Paris and the suburbs, making it impossible to argue that certain neighborhoods became "Maghrébin" virtually overnight."
The police chief of Paris, Maurice Papon, enacted a repression policy against Algerians in Paris during the years 1958 through 1962. The height of violence against Algerians occurred in September and October 1961. The Paris massacre of 1961 affected the Algerian community.
After the Algerian War, approximately 90,000 Harkis, ethnic Algerians who fought with the French, relocated to France, including in Paris.
In 2005, young male Maghrebians made up the majority of those involved in the rioting in the Paris region. Researcher Nabil Echchaibi reported that the riots were primarily orchestrated by minorities of North and West African descent, mostly in their teens. Almost all the rioters were French second-generation migrants and only about 7 percent of those arrested were foreigners.
Davidson wrote that Goutte d'Or in Paris in 1948 "appears to have had" 5,720 North Africans and that the estimates of North Africans in 1952 were 5,500–6,400. It had been perceived to have become North African in the post-World War II period.
As of 2008, 18.1% of the population of the northern Parisian commune of Saint-Denis was Maghrebian. Melissa K. Brynes, author of French Like Us? Municipal Policies and North African Migrants in the Parisian Banlieues, 1945—1975, wrote that in the middle of the 20th Century, "few of [the Paris-area communes with North African populations] were as engaged with their migrant communities as the Dionysiens [residents of Saint-Denis]."
In the 1950s and 1960s, Maghrebians began to arrive in Sarcelles. Political organization came in subsequent decades. Originally the Muslims worshipped in converted makeshift areas, but later purpose-built mosques appeared. In the 1990s Maghrebians were first elected to the commune council. Maxwell wrote that Maghrebians began obtaining "key positions" only in the recent vicinity of 2012 due to "low turnout and weak community organizations".
Sarcelles gained a large population of Sephardic Jews as a consequence of the post-World War II Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries. As of 2012 many of the Jewish residents have French citizenship.
During the peak immigration of Sephardic Jews, they subscribed to a belief in assimilation and secularism and they had the North African belief of what Michel Wieviorka and Philippe Bataille, authors of The Lure of Anti-Semitism: Hatred of Jews in Present-Day France, describe as "a structuring role" that "does not cover all aspects of social life". Beginning in the 1980s, religion became more public and important, and Wieviorka and Bataille stated that the previous North African practice is "becoming mixed up with the neo-Orthodox practices of the 'young people' for whom religion controls everything."
In 1983 there was a wave of councilors who were Sephardic Jews.
Tim Pooley of the London Metropolitan University stated that the speech of young ethnic Maghrebians in Paris, Grenoble, and Marseille, "conforms, in general, to the classic sociolinguistic pattern of their metropolitan French peers, the boys maintaining marked regional features, generally as minority variants, to a greater extent than the girls."
In 1978 a group of Franco-Maghrebians in Nanterre started a theatre troupe, Weekend à Nanterre. The plays performed by this troupe were about Franco-Maghrebians experiencing conflict from both the French and Maghrebian cultures.
Films set in the Paris area involving North African characters include Hexagone by Malik Chibane, set in Goussainville, Val d'Oise; and Douce France by Chibane, set in Saint-Denis. Additionally the film Neuilly Yo Mama!, and its sequel Neuilly sa mère, sa mère! take place in the Paris area.
In 2012 Samira Fahim, an owner of a restaurant in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, stated that around 1995, there were many Moroccan and Tunisian restaurants but few Algerian restaurants because many French people visited the former two countries and demanded their cuisine at home, while few French people visited Algeria.
The fictional Bilal Asselah, of Nightrunner, is a Frenchman of Algerian origins raised in the Parisian suburbs.
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