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Friday, December 8, 2006

French-Algerian Scholar Warns France About Islamists

Special Dispatch-North African Reformist Thinkers Project
December 8, 2006
No. 1386

French-Algerian Scholar Dr. Kamal Nait-Zerrad: "After Christianity and the
Inquisition... Today It Is the Muslims Who Have Taken Center Stage"

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit: .

Dr. Kamal Nait-Zerrad is a professor of Berber language, literature, and
civilization at the French National Institute of Oriental Languages and
Civilizations; in addition, he holds a Ph.D. in micro-optoelectronics. He is
the author of several reference works on Berber languages, and has recently
published a partial translation of the Koran into the Kabyle dialect.

In an article posted on the Algerian Berber website, Dr.
Nait-Zerrad warns the French that Islamists are using them as unwitting dupes
to undermine the secular French republic. He argues that religions must change
in order to adapt to a universal course of human development, and that Islam
has not done so, and thus become reactionary. He also asks whether there are
Muslim authorities with enough courage to engage in a project of critiquing
and reforming Islam.

The following are excerpts from the article:(1)

"Will There Soon Be Punishment For Blasphemy [In France]?"

"... When one sees what is going on in Europe, and in France in particular,
one has to ask oneself if one has not fallen on one's head. From small
compromises, there has been an imperceptible slippage into large compromises
of principle. Following the assassinations and the threats, in the last few
days things have been cranked up, to self-censorship. Will there soon be
punishment for blasphemy?

"Freedom of expression and freedom of thought everywhere have been, are, and
will [always] be regularly endangered by individuals and groups... After
Christianity and the Inquisition, Torquemada, and Savonarola... today it is
the Muslims who have taken center stage, supported by intellectuals or
politicians, who perhaps have something for which to reproach themselves, but
who at the same time are paving the way for the Islamists.

"Intellectuals, associations, and French political parties are in fact showing
such complaisance with regard to the Islamist movements that it borders on
oblivion or naïveté - together of course with their ulterior electoral
motives, and such confusions as 'French [citizens] of North African origin =
Arabs and Muslims,' who must be attracted at any price.

"However, some of the North Africans were never Muslims (nor are they Arabs,
for that matter), and they are concerned at the backing given to radical
Muslim ideas in France. These [North Africans] - these people who come from a
country where Islam is the state religion and who denounce what is going on
there - are not entitled to speak to the television cameras. They are only
taken seriously if they stay within the communal compartmentalization in which
they have been placed once and for all."

"With The Help Of Useful Idiots, [The Islamists] Are Shattering The Secular
Edifice Of The French Republic - In The Name Of Human Rights"

"Have we already forgotten Afghanistan and its Taliban, Algeria and its
terrorists? It is true that the scandal of the amnesty granted to
fundamentalist terrorists in Algeria is hardly discussed anymore; they are
even granted indemnities, and are simply reintegrated into society, with a
compensation package!

"In France, they want to sanction certain Muslim customs or practices, and
public funds are used for the construction of mosques. Now, what is going on
in the so-called 'Muslim' countries? In Iran, does a woman have the right to
walk in the street without a hijab or a chador or a jilbab or who knows what
else? No! Foreigners (journalists, Western ministers, and others) must wear
the veil! In Saudi Arabia, can one build churches, synagogues, or other
temples (and I do not even bring up centers for culture or free thought)? No,
let us leave that to the tender democracies! There is no question here of
speaking about reciprocity, but only of showing the insidious and fallacious
sides of those who slowly but surely - with the help of 'useful idiots' - are
shattering the secular edifice of the French republic - in the name of human

"For Islam, The Christian Or Jewish Non-Muslim Can Only Be A Dhimmi"

"The fact is that Islam never foresaw a situation in which it would be in the
minority. So long as one has not understood this, one cannot understand the
Islamist movements. This is symptomatic of the Muslim vision of man, of human
relations, and of other religions. For Islam, the Christian or Jewish
non-Muslim can only be a dhimmi. Fighting against infidels is commanded in the
Koran in these words [9:29]: 'Fight those who do not believe in Allah and in
the last day, who do not forbid that which Allah and his Messenger declared
forbidden, and who do not practice the religion of truth, among those who have
received the Scripture! Fight them until they pay the jizya (poll tax),
directly, when they are humiliated.' The jizya is reserved only for those who
have the Scripture - that is, Jews, Christians, and to a lesser extent,
Zoroastrians. As for the others - pagans, animists, free-thinkers, agnostics,
and atheists - they have no other recourse but to convert to Islam or die.

"The study of the Koran allows one to point to the potential for intolerance
that emerges from it and its outdated conception of law and justice. In
essence, human rights have evolved in the direction of greater respect for man
and his physical integrity. Some speak of a new interpretation of the Koran
that is adapted to modern times. However, the political, social, or moral
concepts in the Koran are intangible, and the Muslim cannot modify them or
reject a part of them without being accused of heresy - unless [such
modification] comes from a recognized authority."

"Where Are The Reformers?"

"Objectively speaking, one cannot deny the fact that the Koran - like certain
texts of other religions, for that matter - is anti-feminist. In Algeria,
there is a fundamental contradiction between the constitution - which is
supposed to be the basic law - and the family code. This brings us to the
problem of the separation of [political] authority and religion in these
countries. This separation, which is necessary for individual fulfillment, can
only be attained if one sacrifices shari'a, with Islam becoming a personal
religion. But where are the Muslims who will tackle this project? Who will
propose another path... Where are the reformers?

"God Himself is said to be at the origin of the three great monotheistic
religions. Each one then should be perfect, and always relevant, in any given
era. But the Koran accused the Christians and the Jews of having falsified the
Scriptures, and declared the[ir religion to be] invalid, with Islam remaining
the only valid and certain religion. Now, as historical and scientific studies
on the genesis of the [Koran] have shown, this accusation can be fired back at
the Koran itself...


"To come back to human rights, the contemporary conception of these rights is
completely different than that which was current just one century ago. It has
become more personalized and more universal...

"It is thus time for Islam - insofar as it is a 'great religion' - to critique
itself and adapt to this evolution. The question is whether there exists a
Muslim authority strong enough, with both the will and the courage, to start
and to carry out this long labor - which would enable society to definitively
and legally silence the Islamists and their henchmen."

(1); November 29, 2006.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit
organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East.
Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are
available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with
proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
Search previous MEMRI publications at

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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