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Writers slam Islamic 'totalitarianism'

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  • Paul
    Aljazeera Writers slam Islamic totalitarianism Wednesday 01 March 2006, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9F873D63-8FE0-4789-8292-BB3623E86995.htm The
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2006
      Aljazeera
      Writers slam Islamic 'totalitarianism'
      Wednesday 01 March 2006,
      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9F873D63-8FE0-4789-8292-BB3623E86995.htm


      The recent violence surrounding the publication in the West of
      caricatures of Prophet Muhammad illustrate the danger of religious
      "totalitarianism," Salman Rushdie and a group of other writers have said
      in a statement.
      Rushdie, French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy and exiled Bangladeshi
      writer Taslima Nasreen were among those putting their names to the
      statement, to be published on Wednesday in the French weekly Charlie
      Hebdo, one of several French newspapers which reprinted the
      controversial cartoons.

      "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now
      faces a new global threat: Islamism," they wrote.

      "We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to
      religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal
      opportunity and secular values for all."
      They added that the clashes over the caricatures "revealed the necessity
      of the struggle for these universal values. The 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."
      Cartoon riots

      The publication of the cartoons, first printed by the Danish daily
      newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September then reprinted by several
      European outlets, sparked violent, sometimes deadly, demonstrations in
      the Muslim world in February.

      Some Western governments, media and intellectuals said the reaction was
      a threat to their attachment to the freedom of expression.

      Muslim governments and media countered by saying it offended their
      religion, and some groups said it violated an Islamic custom banning
      images of God or Muhammad.

      India-born British writer Rushdie was in a better position than most to
      comment on the controversy, having been made the target for murder under
      an Iranian fatwa for his 1998 novel The Satanic Verses, which gives an
      irreverent characterisation of Muhammad.

      The others who signed the statement were: Somali-born Dutch feminist,
      writer and filmmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Iranian writer Chahla Chafiq, who
      is exiled in France; French writer Caroline Fourest; Irshad Manji, a
      Ugandan refugee and writer living in Canada; Mehdi Mozaffari, an Iranian
      academic exiled in Denmark; Maryam Namazie, an Iranian writer living in
      Britain; Antoine Sfeir, director of a French review examining the Middle
      East; Charlie Hebdo, director Philippe Val; and Ibn Warraq, a US
      academic of Indian and Pakistani origin who wrote a book titled Why I Am
      not a Muslim.

      The statement said: "Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by
      fears and frustrations", but added that nothing justifies the hatred it
      engenders.

      "Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and
      secularism wherever it is present."

      They called for the universal right to lift the oppressed and
      discriminated out of the "Islamists' domination" and said "we refuse to
      renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of Islamophobia."
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