Immigrants from Muslim backgrounds have been far more affected by deadly cases of the Wuhan coronavirus than French natives, according to France’s National Institute for Demographic Studies.
While exact numbers on deaths by ethnicity and religion are not available in France as the law forbids the collection of such data, the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), along with the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), claim that various factors point to Muslim immigrants being far more affected by deadly cases of the virus, according to newspaper Ouest France.
A study released by the INSEE in April measured the number of coronavirus deaths by country of origin and found that there were far more fatal cases of the virus among immigrants, as opposed to native-born French,
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Michel Guillot, a researcher at INED, noted that excess mortality from the virus among those from North Africa was 2.6 times higher than native French, and for sub-Saharan immigrants, it was 4.5 times higher.
“We can deduce that, indeed, immigrants of the Muslim faith have been much more affected by the Covid pandemic,” Guillot said.
M’Hammed Henniche, president of the Union of Muslim Associations of 93 (UAM93) in the heavily migrant-populated Paris no-go suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis, said he received hundreds of calls from Muslims looking for help after their loved ones had died since the start of the pandemic.
Mr Henniche also noted that many members of his community worked in jobs that did not permit them to work from home, increasing their risk of catching the virus.
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Muslim cemeteries had also filled at a rapid pace in parts of France, with some areas unable to keep up with the demand for burial plots, largely due to the fact that before the pandemic, 80 per cent of Muslims were buried outside the country and travel restrictions have prevented sending bodies overseas for burial.
Since the start of the pandemic, some countries have noted larger numbers of coronavirus cases among immigrant communities. In Sweden, a December report noted that nearly half of the people in intensive care units due to the virus were immigrants.
In April of last year, Swedish media noted that the heavily migrant populated no-go Stockholm suburbs were the most affected by the virus, with the Somali community, in particular, seeing large numbers of cases.