Translation of the Le Monde article on the Redeker controversy
©Traduction exclusive de Lagrette for eXc
Robert Redeker, professor of philosophy and essayist, is the target of death threats since the publication of a column in Le Figaro of September 19th, 2006, in which he criticized Islam and the prophet Mahomet. He receives threatening messages in his e-mail box every day. The Direction of the Surveillance of the Territory (DST) has spotted WebPages on Islamic Jihadists forums, in English, with his picture, street address and map to go to his home. He is called a « pig » on these sites.
Mr. Redeker, who teaches philosophy at the high school in Saint-Orens-de-Gameville (Haute – Garonne), was put under police protection. He had to leave his home and has not been able to teach since September 20th. » Today, I live on the territory of the Republic as an alien, he said to Le Monde. I am like a prisoner, I lost my freedom to come and go. I feel abandoned, since I have not received any logistical help from the Ministry of Education. «
Prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, deemed this « Fatwa » « unacceptable », on Friday, September 29th on RMC-Info. The day before, on RTL, Minister for Education, Gilles de Robien, had declared « solidaire » with the professor of philosophy, adding however: » By signing this free column, this teacher implicated National Department of Education. A civil servant should be careful, moderate, and prudent in any circumstances. «
Robert Redeker is surprised by the minister’s comments: » If this principle of moderation had been applied, there would have been no intellectual life in France, since many thinkers were civil servants. Besides, the role of a politician is not to say what we must think, but to protect our freedom of speech. » The teacher also wonders about » the absence of reactions of the teachers labor unions and the many associations that defend laicity, which are more ready to criticize Catholicism than Islam « .
In his article, titled “What should the free world do while facing Islamist intimidation?” Mr. Redeker wrote about Mahomet: “A merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist, such is the man revealed through the Koran… Whereas Judaism and Christianity are religions whose rites spurn violence by delegitimizing it, Islam is a religion that exalts violence and hatred in its everyday rites and sacred book. Hatred and violence dwell in the book with which every Muslim is brought up, the Koran.”
The issue of the newspaper in which this article was published was banned in Tunisia and in Egypt.
On the front page of the September 29th edition of Le Figaro Francis Morel, editorial director, and Nicolas Beytout, managing editor, condemned » with the strongest vigor the serious infringements to freedom of thought and to freedom of speech that this affair has caused « .
Article published on 09.30.06