Wednesday, October 25, 2006

French critic of Islam still in hiding

A French high school philosophy teacher and author who carried out a scathing attack against the Prophet Muhammad and Islam in the center-right daily newspaper Le Figaro is the latest to face death threats for daring to criticize the religion and its prophet's emphasis on violence.

The teacher, Robert Redeker, 52, wrote on 19 september that Muhammad was "a merciless warlord, a looter, a mass-murderer of Jews and a polygamist," and called the Koran "a book of incredible violence."

And added: "Islam is trying to impose its values on Europe: opening hours at public pools dedicated exclusively to women, restrictions on caricaturing the religion, dietary demands for Muslim children in school cafeterias, fighting for the right to wear the veil to school, accusations of Islamophobia against open minds."

"As was the case with Communism, the West finds itself under ideological surveillance. Islam is presenting itself, in the image of now defunct Communism, as an alternative to the Western world. Just as Communism before it, Islam, to conquer minds, is playing on sensitive chords. It seeks legitimacy in a way that troubles the Western conscience: by being the voice of the planet's poor. Yesterday, the voice of the poor claimed to come from Moscow, today its coming from Mecca!"

The Redeker case is the latest manifestation in Europe of a mounting ideological battle that pits those who believe Islam and the Prophet Muhammad can be criticized in the name of free speech against those in the Muslim community who believe no criticism can be tolerated.

"I can’t work, I can’t come and go and am obliged to hide," told Mr. Redeker. "So in some way, the Islamists have succeeded in punishing me on the territory of the republic as if I were guilty of a crime of opinion."

Asked to describe the sort of threats he had received, Mr. Redeker replied, "You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, three hundred thousand Muslims are ready to kill you."

Support Robert Redeker.

by Franck Guillory

* To sign the french petition http://www.petitionredeker.info

* France has one of Europe's largest Muslim communities with an estimated total of six million people, or ten percent of the population.

* The text in french is still available in the archive of the newspaper at http://www.lefigaro.fr

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