Can A New Generation in the Banlieues change French Politics? New York Times Magazine:
"His parents weren’t particularly religious, but social dynamics led him, for a time, to delve into Islam. “I would go around talking about values: ‘No, that’s no good. No, this is what Islam is.’ But people allowed me to make my mistakes, let me evolve, realize my errors. I didn’t know who I was yet. Today, if you’re an 18-year-old kid, you talk about Islam like that, you go straight to prison.”
"Reading Kant and Machiavelli helped Bouteghmès look beyond what could be a closed circuit in the banlieues. “France is philosophy,” he told me. It was only through understanding the foundational principles of French Republicanism, and 200-year-old ideas that were in crisis in a modern, multicultural France, that he could see they needed to be adjusted to a new reality. … His parents weren’t keen on his studying philosophy, impractical as it was, and friends from La Courneuve tried to dissuade him, too — studying Western, Christian-based philosophy was, they warned, haram, forbidden. (Everyone in La Courneuve had been affected by fundamentalism, even if there had been fewer departures for Syria from here than from neighboring towns.) …
Women in head scarves had become symbols, flash points, everything except individuals with complicated personal reasons for expressing themselves in a particular way."