Where French Muslims struggle to integrate

Leila Laouati is leaving France. At 30, she still lives in her home town of Dreux, 60 miles west of Paris, in her childhood room in her parents’ apartment. But in September she starts work teaching French in the Japanese prefecture of Osaka.

The multilingual Ms Laouati has a degree in international relations from the Sorbonne. However, she is also the daughter of Algerian immigrants, and in 10 years of looking for work encountered an overt racism familiar to Muslims in France. One job interviewer expressed doubt that she could work with French people. “But I am French,” Ms Laouati replied. It did no good. She never found permanent work. “France doesn’t need me, so I don’t need it,” she says now.

Financial Times, 29 August 2007