In France, multiculturalism, as a legal and institutional approach to dealing with cultural, ethnic and religious differences, does not refer to a specific political model as it does in Canada, the USA or Australia. The word ‘multicultural’ is seldom used in public or even in academic debate (Wieviorka, 1996). However, from the 1960s onwards, discussions and claims based on cultural differences have emerged in French society and have intensified over the last decades with the mounting debate about Islam. There is a longstanding tradition of separation between church and state. In law, only individuals free and equal in rights are recognized; this is often put forward as grounds for opposition to a multicultural framework.
Poli, A. (2014). Nondiscrimination, Diversity and Islam: Challenges for Multiculturalism in France. In Multicultural Challenges and Sustainable Democracy in Europe and East Asia (pp. 177-197). Palgrave Macmillan, London.