• In a report on radical Islam, "Forbidden Zone" claims that 40% of Roubaisiens are Muslims.

  • This figure, which is not sourced in the subject, does not come from any reliable statistical study.

  • However, it has been taken up by many Internet users to stigmatize Roubaix, including on Twitter by the movement of presidential candidate Eric Zemmour.

A few months before the presidential election, M6 created controversy by broadcasting a report from the Forbidden Zone entitled “Faced with the danger of radical Islam, the responses of the State”.

A good third of the subject was shot in Roubaix, near Lille, in the North.

To set the scene, the author of the report affirms that the population of the city is made up of 40% of people of the Muslim faith.

A figure that no reliable data supports.

“About 40% of the inhabitants are Muslims”, we can thus hear about Roubaix from the start of the report of Zone prohibited.

An allegation widely taken up on social networks, in particular by “Reconquest!

», the movement of Eric Zemmour.

If we are to believe this figure, it would mean that more than 39,000 Roubaisiens would be Muslims out of a total population of 98,000 inhabitants.

If the second figure is established, the first is much less so, if at all.

If it is authorized in France, in a very supervised way, to carry out ethnic statistical studies, those concerning religions are rare.


However, there are some that, at the national level, are based on polls collecting declarative information on religion. The largest, TeO1, was implemented by Insee and Ined between 2008 and 2009 on a sample of 22,000 people. The interpretation of the data enabled INSEE to estimate the number of Muslims out of the entire French population at “4.1 million”. Closer, a survey commissioned from the Viavoice institute by the Observatory of Secularism, in 2019, showed that 3% of respondents “declared themselves Muslims” or “felt linked to Islam”.

At the scale of the city of Roubaix,

20 Minutes

did not find any such study. In an article in

Le Monde diplomatique

in June 1997, the former mayor of Roubaix, René Vandierendonck, carried out an eccentric calculation to dismantle the postulate of the book

Le Paradoxe de Roubaix,

by Philippe Aziz, making Roubaix a city with a Muslim majority. By acknowledging the incongruity of the approach himself, the former mayor had reached 30%, making the mistake of “deciding that anyone outside the EEC or any North African is automatically Muslim”, he had declared.

Contacted about this figure of 40%, the production of M6 did not respond.

Nevertheless, it was not very difficult to find its origin.

In the columns of


, in 2016, Michel David, former director general of Roubaix services, said about his city that “40% of the population comes from a country where the Muslim religion is the majority”


This famous figure comes from this extrapolation.

Moreover, the former DGS admitted to being there “a little for something” with our colleagues from the

Voice of the North



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