Moroccan writer Said Nachid told Sky News Arabia (UAE) that since the Arab Spring, he has noticed a "spiritual desolation" and a "disease" plaguing the Arab and Muslim world. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on October 24, 2021. He blamed this on political Islam and on religious discourse that he said causes people to feel failure, anger, bitterness, inferiority, guilt, fear, and hatred, rather than peace of mind and spiritual balance. Nachid went on to say that as a result of this religious discourse, which views the world through a lens of war and jihad, people are unequipped to properly contend with their human nature, and the negative emotions they feel are liable to "explode" at any moment. When asked what the differences are between Muslims and Islamists, Nachid said that while Muslims think about paradise, God, salvation, and self-scrutiny, Islamists think about the political conquest of Islam, about their political parties, about Allah's punishments, and about blaming others for their failures.
Said Nachid: "When I observed the path of the earthquake that used to be called 'The Arab Spring,' I saw that many [Arab] countries were plagued by civil strife, I saw them being infiltrated by political Islam, and I saw the state of spiritual desolation that began to plague us, and I came to the conclusion that [our] civilization is suffering from a kind of disease – a disease that must be treated.
"It is not enough that our civilization is defeated and that it is a failure – due to the feelings of failure, it has become infected with various diseases, diseases that are internal and then explode in the form of anger, bitterness, and hatred, and in the form of the curses that we hear almost every day in our mosques. I mean the curses, the [Islamic] principle of loyalty and disavowal, and the extent of the culture of hatred and loathing.
"The problem lies with religious discourse, which is not fulfilling the goals of religion.
"Why? Because instead of helping people achieve peace of mind, tranquility, and spiritual balance, the religious discourse fosters feelings of inferiority, negative emotions, fear, anger, hatred, guilt complex, envy, and revenge.
"Before strife flares up in society, it grows inside the individual. When one struggles with himself, with his human nature, when one struggles with his own eyes thinking that they commit adultery, when one struggles with himself and thinks that he is a devil whispering [evil things] to himself, when one struggles with women, thinking that they are Satan's enticements and so on, when one struggles with everything and hears these internal voices all his life – that is when one's inner strife precedes its explosion in society. We have citizens who cannot control themselves, their emotions, and their desires. This anger might explode and any moment and destroy everything.
"Then there is the conceptual aspect. Religious discourse – not religion itself – instills within the citizens a set of concepts that constitutes a time bomb that might eventually explode. They divide the world in an Abode of War and an Abode of Islam, and loyalty and disavowal, jihad, spoils of war, and so on.
"The problem is that our religious discourse commands people to do what they cannot do. It commands people to live in contradiction to their human nature, and when people struggle with their own human nature, their nature will undoubtedly take its revenge. So we can see that people who claim to be pious become worse than devils in an instant."
Interviewer: "What is the difference between Muslims and Islamists?
Nachid: "A Muslim dreams about Paradise, while an Islamist dreams about [political] rule. A Muslim believes that Islam cancels what was before Islam, while an Islamist believes that political Islam cancels what was before it. A Muslim turns to his Lord, while an Islamist turns to his political party. A Muslim scrutinizes his own faith, while an Islamist scrutinizes the faith of his neighbor. When a Muslim does not succeed, he reconsiders his steps and his conduct, but when an Islamist does not succeed, he blames others for his failure. A Muslim preaches to people about the coming salvation, while an Islamist preaches to people about Allah's punishment."