December 8, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1386

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

December 8, 2006
Algeria, North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 1386

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 rights!"

"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.

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