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France's complicated history with Muslims




Illustration of the nagab ban in France passed in 2010. The law prohibits veils and other face coverings in public places. In 2004, the country passed a similar law banning conspicuous religious symbols such as Islamic headscarves in schools.
Illustration of the nagab ban in France passed in 2010. The law prohibits veils and other face coverings in public places. In 2004, the country passed a similar law banning conspicuous religious symbols such as Islamic headscarves in schools.
Khalid Albaih/Flickr/Creative Commons

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The suspects in the recent massacre at French magazine Charlie Hebdo are still at large.

Officials say they have ties to a larger to a terrorist group, possibly al-Qaeda.

But the incident has prompted violence against Muslims -- there were gun and grenade attacks on Thursday outside two mosques, for example, and community leaders told veiled women to avoid going out alone for their own safety.

Mayanthi Fernando, professor of anthropology at UC-Santa Cruz and author of "The Republic Unsettled: Islam, Secularism, and the Future of France," explains France's complicated history with its Muslim population -- one that's rife with tension, discrimination and, in this case, the scapegoating of a whole culture.