French and Muslim

The jury's description of the nominee: 

"This is a very complete long-term subject with a very serious and intellectual approach to what it means “Islam in Europe”. It shows powerful images of Islam as a positive force. Keyser seeks to normalize the idea of Islam, bringing to us mundane, everyday religiousness. The jury found very useful to show through images Muslim’s feelings after Daesh terror attacks in France. We acclaim the global aim of this project: “Islam should not be considered an issue in the same way as unemployment is an issue: the idea that Islam is a problem needs to be tackled!” (F. Keyser)."



For several years, through my work I have tried to normalise the idea of Islam. Furthermore, I, as well as other sociologues and researchers, have also witnessed an autonomous normalisation of Islam occurring on the ground, both nationally and locally. More and more “parochial” versions of Islam are occurring, for example in Marseille, where each mosque has its own identity linked to its neighbourhood. Today the goal for documentary photographers, artists, researchers and sociologists is to show a mundane, everyday religiousness. Islam should not be considered an issue in the same way as unemployment is an issue: The idea that Islam is a problem needs to be tackled!

In a tense and impassioned context like that of today, Muslims are a positive force in our country. They are engaged in our society, in the army, in organisations and political life. It is exactly this that we showed in the our book with Vincent Geisser. Muslims are also reacting against radicalisation. Muslims are making their contribution to society; Muslims are completely normal citizens. We should no longer consider them as scapegoats, but as allies.

First serie in color: pictures from my book « We are french and muslim », 2010, Autrement Editions, with Vincent Geisser.

Second serie in black an white : Summer 2015, after massacres by mad men from Daech, I wanted to go back to see the Muslims I met for my book. Ask them this question: how do you feel? Their handwriting are intimate and deep, reveal their connection with their country, France. Some texts were rewritten after the carnage of the Bataclan in Paris.

Third serie in color:
I worked about Islam in France, for different French magazines and newspapers.

The number of Muslim citizens in the military is unknown. The law, in fact, does not allow a census of the troops on a religious basis. According to rough estimates, about 7-8% of the soldiers in the the French army are Muslims. Oct 2009By France Keyser
Mr Djerai is an elected official of the Republic: I don’t expect to be recognized as French, I am past that stage. I am French and I only ask that all, regardless of their colour, their origins, their religion benefit from the same rights.By France Keyser
“What we are experiencing today is not the same as what African-Americans went through in the 1960s, but it’s very similar. I cannot refrain from drawing a comparison, having studied the Black Panther movement.”By France Keyser
Mr Ghazli, an erstwhile high level judoka then a security agent at the RATP, has built himself, little by little, a solid real-estate portfolio. At 36 years old, this young father pays French wealth tax, “a badge of success,” in his words.By France Keyser
2015 Annus Horribilis The most cynical will say: "The French state did not want of a peaceful Islam, did not open on the laws of the Republic and respecting the secularism, they had ISIS."By France Keyser
"Sons! I leave you as an inheritance, Islam and the color of your skin. I know that this inheritance will be certainly, for you, in France, beautiful. Be Muslim, be French, just be yourself!By France Keyser
A 19th century American general famously said, “a good Indian is a dead Indian”. Today, many feel a good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Muslims should contribute to the dynamic of the country...French society should accept Islam.By France Keyser
“When I fight, I distance myself from despair. When I fight, I forbid myself despair. We live a real apartheid in France, despite apparent laws supposed to protect us. This apartheid must stop in peace or revolt.By France Keyser
Nice’s mosque was inaugurated on the 8th July 2016, one week before the terrorist attack on the Promenade des Anglais and after a protracted struggle with the Nice town hall. It is modern, spacious and light. Muslims waited 15 years. By France Keyser
In Bordeaux’s largest mosque, men and women pray in the same room. Imam Tarek Oubrou’s progressive position with regard to interpreting the Quran have incited death threats from the so called Islamic State. By France Keyser
In Saint Etienne en Rouvray, where the priest Jacques Hamel was assassinated on 26th July 2016 in the name of so called Islamic State, there has been a developing dialogue between Muslims and Christians for more than twenty years. By France Keyser
Last summer, the “burkini” formented debate on France’s beaches. Comunes prevented women in burkinis from swimming or women in veils from lying on the beach. Women were being denied access to a democratic space - ordinary French women.By France Keyser

See Also

zenith Photo Award 2014

The third edition of the zenith Photo Award called upon professional and amateur photographers alike to pick up their cameras and take part in the debate on what Islam in Germany looks like.