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Why French Millennials Don't Think Muslims Are The Problem

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    This story was originally published on November 23, 2015 at 5:45 p.m.

    It's going to take time. After the recent attacks that left 130 people dead and put the entire metropolis on edge, the road back to normal for the citizens of Paris seems long, with fears about personal safety still paramount. The events of November 13 — the second terrorist assault in the city in 10 months — have also sparked a broader dialogue about the divisions of French society — along religious, ethnic, and economic lines.

    After the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, a number of Muslim organizations and world leaders quickly condemned its use of religion as a justification for violence. Others pointed out that it's wrong to assume that any Muslim who hasn't publicly denounced the attacks must somehow therefore support them.

    Yet religious tension is high. In response, students from all faiths and backgrounds gathered in the Place de la République on Saturday, including members of the Young Muslim Students Association along with members of Coexister, an interfaith group. Their aim: to show their support for the victims and their families, as well as to promote dialogue after tragedy.

    Refinery29 was there to meet them. "I think that religion is going to be a lot more ostracized after these attacks," Dominique Ryan, 20, a student from Detroit now at the American University in Paris, told us. "Paris is already not really that much of a religious place, and I think now it’s just going to become less accepting of religion. It’s really more to do with appearance, however. It’s not about being religious; it’s about looking different — having a different skin tone and different language."

    Ahead, read what other young people in Paris, both French citizens and foreigners, had to say about the media conversation surrounding religion and the attacks, as well as how they hope to help heal Paris.

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