Jews and Muslims Coexist Peaceably in Marseille, Offering Model

February 21, 2005

Source: The Washington Post

On February 21, 2005 The Washington Post reported, "Marseille, population 800,000, a proud and bristly Mediterranean port, has since ancient times mixed diverse cultures and faiths. Today it is home to nearly 200,000 Muslims and 80,000 Jews, the continent's third-largest Jewish population center. All the ingredients for protracted sectarian violence would seem to exist in large supply -- a young and impassioned imam, pugnaciously pro-Israel Jews, the anti-immigrant National Front, poverty, unemployment. But while Paris and other European cities have experienced waves of anti-Semitic violence and political agitation against immigrants, Marseille has only occasional outbreaks and remains generally at peace with itself... With its unusual harmony, Marseille offers an example to Europe as societies that were solidly white, Christian and monolingual for centuries evolve toward multiculturalism. Migration from the Arab world has given many cities large Muslim minorities. Eastern Europeans have moved west seeking jobs and opportunity."