Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: French

First Advisor

Jean-Marc Kehres


It is no secret that the French government has struggled to maintain its foundational concept of laïcité while welcoming an increasingly diverse and mainly Muslim immigrant population. France is a nation that has been long characterized by religious struggle. Today, threats to the country’s national security and identity exacerbate the conflict between the strong advocates of laïcité, white Christians, islamophobes, right-wing parties, on one hand, and Muslims, proponents of religious and civil liberties and liberally minded members of the population on the other. In this thesis I analyze the fraught religious history that led to the development of the concept of laïcité, and chronicle how the policy that originated as a tolerant and liberal idea has been manipulated to target the Muslim population. This resulted in an array of issues that will only be solved by accepting that there are poignant religious and cultural differences that separate the French Majority and the Muslim community. I find that only by compromising on policy will there be no group left disenfranchised.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in French.