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Another look at the integration process of Muslim youth in Europe

Migrant youth living in disadvantaged areas in large European cities are disconnected from networks that could offer them educational and work opportunities. An EU study has filled a gap in research related to the capacity for action led by social networks in these poor areas.
Another look at the integration process of Muslim youth in Europe
Backed by EU funding, the project LOCALYOUTH (Re-linking suburban youths in Madrid and Paris. The "new localism" and the role of social and ethnic networks in the integration of youth from immigrant origin) conducted a comparative study of peripheral neighbourhoods in Madrid and Paris, examining the role of civil society in the socialisation of youngsters.

The project set two main objectives. The first was to understand the effect of intermediary structures (e.g. neighbourhood associations, churches, mosques) in providing youth with access to educational and employment opportunities, considering also ethnic diversity and the gender dimension. The second was to evaluate innovative social programmes underlining the need for new kinds of relationships among the state, local representatives and social organisations.

LOCALYOUTH focused on a French banlieue (Les Bosquets in Clichy Montfermeil) and a barrio of Madrid (San Cristobal de Los Angeles in the district of Villaverde). The target groups were youth aged 18 to 25 with a Muslim background (children and grandchildren of immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, Senegal and Mali).

Research involved participant observation and some 50 interviews and 10 focus groups, which provided the basis and final case study samples. The work concluded with a youth exchange bringing together subjects from both countries and a sociological intervention.

Research results cover three main areas, with the first pointing to a return to Islamic dogmas and norms in the selected neighbourhoods. The second has to do with the effects of the Muslim Community on youth integration, underlining both positive and negative effects of this kind of social control. Lastly, LOCALYOUTH found that less segregation, social participation and daily contact between secular and religious groups helped Spanish Muslims to live more flexible and adaptable lives. In contrast, French Muslims experienced more difficulties and stress due to ethnic isolation and the separation between State and the Muslim community.

LOCALYOUTH focused on the role of civil society in the integration processes of young people with Muslim background. Project work offers a fresh perspective for understanding and demonstrating the shift towards a new localism.

Related information


Youth, migrant, disadvantaged, social networks, LOCALYOUTH, localism
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