African Muslims first arrived in Besançon and the Franche-Comté from the 1870s to World War I to augment the French army and protect its frontiers during its conflicts with Germany. During the late 1950s and 1960s, massive immigration of French Muslims from Algeria helped rebuild France from the destruction of World War II and contributed to the industrial expansion of the 1970s. (Note: Algeria was a department of France from 1830 to 1962.) In Besançon, Muslims became integrated into society and worship at local mosques, however the number of imams and Muslim associations were inadequate to serve the community to the 1980s. In 1981, the Center of Islam of the Franche-Comté was created, as the sunna association was formed in 1987. In 2010, Islam was the second largest religion in Besançon after Catholicism. According to a report by France Bleu Besançon in 2010, 15,000 Muslims live in Besançon and comprise about 13% of the city's population.
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