An overwhelming majority of Muslims resident in France voted for Emmanuel Macron in Sunday’s presidential run-off, polling shows.
According to a poll commissioned by Catholic news portal La Croix et Le Pèlerin and conducted by polling institute Ifop, some 85 percent of Muslim voters chose the incumbent French president in the second round of the country’s presidential election,
“The Catholic vote is marked by a wide diversity, the Muslim vote is very homogeneous,” emphasized the director of Ifop.
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, which makes them a formidable voting bloc in the country. In the run-up to the election, the country’s top Muslim organizations endorsed Macron, including the head of the Grand Mosque of Paris.
For nationalist candidates such as Le Pen, growing immigration in France along with high Muslim fertility rates, represents a serious electoral challenge. Under Macron, approximately 2 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants settled in the country.
A look into how Catholic voted
The poll also showed non-practicing Catholics voted for Le Pen at a rate of 45 percent while Macron received 55 percent of the vote, while those Catholics who were most involved with the Church, only voted for Le Pen at a rate of 42 percent versus 58 percent for Macron.
Protestants showed a higher preference (65 percent) for Macron than the national average.
A 2016 nationwide study showed that 51.1 percent of the 67 million people in Frace were Christians, 39.6 percent had no religion and 5.6 percent were Muslims. However, an earlier estimate of the Ministry of Interior indicated that 8 to 10 percent of France’s population were of Muslim origin.
Catholicism has been the predominant religion in France for over a thousand years, but secular trends in the country along with the country’s growing Muslim population has led to a boom in mosque construction while at the same time, churches are being torn down or repurposed.