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Image for Marseille: France's Muslim City

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Marseille: France's Muslim City

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 02 June 2012

As Francoise Hollande settles into his new job as the President of France, immigration and race relations will be one of the issues which will take up his time. John Laurenson has travelled to the Mediterranean city of Marseille which, demographers suggest, will be the first Muslim-majority city in Western Europe.

Marseille is viewed as a model of pluralism, where Muslims, Jews and the rest of the city's 800,000-strong population live in harmony. John takes to the city streets to meet Les Marseillais, the people who inhabit this city, to find out why it is that while other cities in France have fallen to the rioters, Marseilles has remained calm. The communities have stayed together rather than turned on each other.

As John continues his journey, he meets the local football team, Olympique Marseille, and local rappers who cross the religious divide. He finds that the city has huge problems of poverty, deprivation and unemployment, so just what is it that is holding Marseille together?

(Image: Muslims pray on the first day of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at the Parc Chanot in Marseille, southern France. Credit: VINCENT BEAUME/AFP/Getty Images)

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