Religion in Marseille

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Modern-day Marseille's cultural diversity is reflected in the wide variety of religious beliefs of its citizens.[citation needed]



The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Marseille, is a metropolitan archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in France. The Archepiscopal see is in the city of Marseille, and the diocese comprises the arrondissement of Marseille, a subdivision of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône in the Region of P.A.C.A.

Immigration to Marseille[edit]

In 2014 The National Institute of Statistics (INSEE, for its acronym in French) published a study on Thursday, according to which has doubled the number of Spanish immigrants, Portuguese and Italians in the south of Marseille between 2009 and 2012.[1] According to the French Institute, this increase resulting from the financial crisis that hit several European countries in that period, has pushed up the number of Europeans installed in the south of Marseille.[1][2] Statistics on Spanish immigrants in France show a growth of 107 percent between 2009 and 2012, i.e. in this period went from 5300 to 11,000 people.[1][2]


As official data on religion is generally not collected in France on the principle of secularism ("laïcité"), the precise number of Muslims in Marseille is unknown. However, recent research suggests that about one third of the population is Muslim which makes Islam Marseille's largest and most significant minority religion.[3][4]

Muslims are mostly from Maghreb, Turkey and the Comoro Islands. They are particularly concentrated in the North districts ("quartiers Nord").

Second World War[edit]

In August 1944, Marseille was liberated from the Germans by the 3rd Algerian Infantry Division, supported by Moroccan Goumiers. The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division, under the command of General de Monsabert, was made up of about 60% North African Muslims (mostly Algerian Tirailleurs).[5][6][7] According to John Gimlette, "the North Africans who liberated Marseille still inhabit the city, less now in body than spirit".[8]

Muslim immigration from the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) started to increase in the 1970s. Marseille’s population of Algerian descent is estimated to be at least 150,000.[9] Over the last 30 years, the city has become the main destination for Comorian immigrants. As of 2014, there is approximately 61,700 Turks also living in Marseille.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Research suggests that somewhere between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the population is Muslim", "Muslims make up almost one-third of Marseille’s population", Muslims in Marseille, Open Society Foundations, 20 September 2011 by Vincent Geisser, a scholar of Islam and immigration at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and Françoise Lorcerie
  4. ^ A survey of high-school students carried out in 2000–2001 suggests that 30–40 per cent of young people have a Muslim background, F. Lorcerie, "Cités cosmopolites. Sur les identités sociales des lycéens marseillais" (Cosmopolitan estates. On the social identities of high-school students of Marseille), Report for FASILD, IREMAMCNRS, Aix-en-Provence, January 2005. Survey carried out with V. Geisser and L. Panafit.
  5. ^ Paul Gaujac, Le Corps expéditionnaire français en Italie, Histoire et collections, 2003, p. 31
  6. ^ Anthony Clayton, France, Soldiers, and Africa, Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988
  7. ^ Belkacem Recham, Algerian muslims in the French Army (1919–1945), L'Harmattan, 1996
  8. ^ John Gimlette, Panther soup: travels through Europe in war and peace, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p.75
  9. ^ Muslims in Marseille, Open Society Foundations, 20 September 2011 by Vincent Geisser, a scholar of Islam and immigration at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and Françoise Lorcerie, p.101
  10. ^ Zaman France. "La communauté turque compte 611.515 personnes en France". Retrieved 2014-12-21.