An interesting summary of the situation in France by a the Iranian-born editor of a French political quarterly.
This passage gets to the heart of the tension that France is experiencing:
In some areas, it is possible for an immigrant or his descendants to spend a whole life without ever encountering the need to speak French, let alone familiarize himself with any aspect of the famous French culture.
The result is often alienation. And that, in turn, gives radical Islamists an opportunity to propagate their message of religious and cultural apartheid.
Some are even calling for the areas where Muslims form a majority of the population to be reorganized on the basis of the "millet" system of the Ottoman Empire: Each religious community (millet) would enjoy the right to organize its social, cultural and educational life in accordance with its religious beliefs.
In parts of France, a de facto millet system is already in place. In these areas, all women are obliged to wear the standardized Islamist "hijab" while most men grow their beards to the length prescribed by the sheiks.
The radicals have managed to chase away French shopkeepers selling alcohol and pork products, forced "places of sin," such as dancing halls, cinemas and theaters, to close down, and seized control of much of the local administration.
France has long pursued a foreign policy designed to promote good will in the Muslim world. Unfortunately, that good will can't solve the inherent tensions in trying to integrate two vastly different cultures.