Muslim Migration into the European Union to 2004

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Map Code: Ax01290

By 2004 the French Muslim population was the largest in western Europe, accounting for up to 70 per cent of Muslim migrants. The Algerian War of Independence between 1954–62 had resulted in a mass immigration of Algerians, who fled to France after the war had ended to escape persecution as French sympathizers. Many more migrants from France’s former North African colonies, who sought education and employment, swelled the number of incomers. Many French Muslim immigrants felt like second class citizens, relegated to grim suburbs and facing laws such as the headscarf ban (2004), which were perceived as discriminatory. A similar legacy of decolonization can be seen in the case of Pakistani migration to the UK, as many Pakistanis were brought into the country in the 1950s and 60s to strengthen the labour force. Similarly, Indonesian migration to the Netherlands followed Indonesian independence. War in the Balkans in the 1990s, and the horrors of ethnic cleansing it unleashed, brought many Bosnian Muslims to the countries of northern Europe and Scandinavia. The vast majority of German’s Muslim minorities were Turks, their numbers swelled by immigration from Bosnia. They were generally regarded as ‘guest workers’ who would return to their home country, but by the start of the new millennium they were acquiring a more permanent status within their host country.

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