After having overcome
fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a
new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists,
intellectuals, call for resistance to religious
totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom,
equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which
occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed
in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of
the struggle for these universal values. This struggle
will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field.
It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism
of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global
struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms,
Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The
hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form
battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and
unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state:
nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of
obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is
a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom
and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can
only lead to a world of domination: man's domination
of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others.
To counter this, we must assure universal rights to
oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject cultural
relativism , which consists in accepting that men and
women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the
right to equality, freedom and secular values in the
name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse
to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being
accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept
which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with
stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the
universality of freedom of expression, so that a
critical spirit may be exercised on all continents,
against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and
free spirits of all countries that our century should
be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from somilian origin, is member of
Dutch parliement, member of the liberal party VVD.
Writter of the film Submission which caused the
assasination of Theo Van Gogh by an islamist in
november 2004, she lives under police protection.
Chahla Chafiq, writer from iranian origin, exiled in
France is a novelist and an essayist. She's the author
of "Le nouvel homme islamiste , la prison politique en
Iran " (2002). She also wrote novels such as "Chemins
et brouillard" (2005).
Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review who
defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist
ideologies), author of several reference books on
laicit" and fanatism : Tirs Crois"s : la lacit"
l'"preuve des int"grismes juif, chr"tien et musulman
(with Fiammetta Venner), Fr"re Tariq : discours,
strat"gie et m"thode de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation
obscurantiste (Grasset, 2005). She receieved the
National prize of laicit" in 2005.
French philosoph, born in Algeria, engaged against all
the XXth century ism (Fascism, antisemitism,
totalitarism, terrorism), he is the author of La
Barbarie visage humain, L'Id"ologie fran'aise, La
Puret" dangereuse, and more recently American Vertigo.
Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the
internationally best-selling author of "The Trouble
with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her
Faith" (en francais: "Musulmane Mais Libre"). She
speaks out for free expression based on the Koran
itself. N"e en Ouganda, elle a fui ce pays avec sa
famille musulmane d'origine indienne l'ge de quatre
ans et vit maintenant au Canada, o" ses "missions et
ses livres connaissent un "norme succ"s.
Mehdi Mozaffari, professor from iranian origin and
exiled in Denmark, is the author of several articles
and books on islam and islamism such as : Authority in
Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and
Discourtesy and Glaobalization and Civilizations.
Writer, TV International English producer; Director of
the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International
Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular
Society's Secularist of the Year award.
Taslima Nasreen is born in Bangladesh. Doctor, her
positions defending women and minorities brought her
in trouble with a comittee of integrist called
Destroy Taslima and to be persecuted as apostate
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including
Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses and, most
recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many
literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the
Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany's Author of
the Year Award, the European Union's Aristeion Prize,
the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio
Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize for European
Literature. He is a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts
et Lettres, an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at
M.I.T., and the president of PEN American Center. His
books have been translated into over 40 languages.
Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing
french newspaper who have republished the cartoons on
the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the danish
citizens targeted by islamists).
Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim ;
Leaving Islam : Apostates Speak Out ; and The Origins
of the Koran , is at present Research Fellow at a New
York Institute conducting philological and historical
research into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.
Antoine Sfeir :
Born in Lebanon, christian, Antoine Sfeir choosed
french nationality to live in an universalist and
lac (real secular) country. He is the director of
Les cahiers de l'Orient and has published several
reference books on islamism such as Les r"seaux
d'Allah (2001) et Libert", "galit", Islam : la
R"publique face au communautarisme (2005).