Moroccan journalist and writer Ahmed Assid said that "we must reach the level of openness and sincerity that enables us to say that some texts should be nullified and completely abandoned because they are religious texts that pertain to a certain context which no longer exists and can never exist again." Speaking on Sky News Arabia on October 6, 2017, Assid said that "the so-called 'scientific-miraculous nature of the Quran' is a man-made fabricated myth" and bemoaned the low level of scientific research in North African and Middle Eastern countries. He asked: "If we say that the actions of ISIS have nothing to do with Islam, how do we explain their reliance upon religious texts?"
Ahmed Assid: "Unfortunately, countries in North Africa and the Middle East allocate no more than 0.1% of their budgets to scientific research. This is very low and, indeed, upsetting, because it indicates that these countries are not about to join the [modern] age. On the contrary, they are moving further and further away from it, and the world moves on.
"I believe that the so-called 'scientific-miraculous nature of the Quran' is a man-made fabricated myth, which has no basis in the religious texts. A religious text can never be considered a scientific text."
Host: "It is a religious text."
Ahmed Assid: "A religious text pertaining to matters of religion and belief. One should not turn to them in any other matter. Trying to attribute to religious scriptures anything beyond that testifies to our cultural poverty.
"In Morocco, from time to time, some universities, which are supposed to be a beacon of modern knowledge, hold conventions that cost millions of dirhams – unimaginable sums – on the subject of the scientific-miraculous nature of the Quran. If these sums had been dedicated to laying down the foundations of scientific research in our labs, we could have created a generation of scientists. Take a look at the list of inventors, and of the greatest contributors to scientific knowledge in history. Is there a single Muslim on this list in whom we can take pride? Most of these scientists are Jewish or Westerners. Why are there no Muslims scientists competing in the field of scientific inventions and discoveries? It is because our societies have not laid the necessary foundations to create scientific knowledge.
"We must realize that the spirit of our age places the human being first. Therefore, we must interpret our religion according to this principle."
Host: "But we cannot exonerate the religious texts. Do you exonerate them from...? Many of those who joined ISIS relied on religious and traditional texts."
Ahmed Assid: "I think that we need to be courageous in order to answer a basic question: If we say that the actions of ISIS have nothing to do with Islam, how do we explain their reliance upon religious texts?
"If ISIS, Ansar Al-Sharia, or Taliban are wrong, what is the correct meaning of these texts? In my opinion, the jurisprudents are trying to avoid saying that these texts were written in contexts that no longer exist today."
Host: "They belong to different times."
Ahmed Assid: "That's right. They run away from this fact because they think that if they say that these texts have absolute meaning and are relevant to any time and any place, this will strengthen Islam. The opposite is true. We must reach the level of openness and sincerity that enables us to say that some texts should be nullified and completely abandoned, because they are religious texts that pertain to a certain context, which no longer exists and can never exist again."