having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism,
the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat:
writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance
to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion
of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values
recent events, which occurred after the publication
of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers,
have revealed the necessity of the struggle for
these universal values. This 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.
all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears
and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these
feelings in order to form battalions destined to
impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But
we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair,
justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism
and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which
kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever
it is present. Its success can only lead to a world
of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists'
domination of all the others. To counter this, we
must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated
reject « cultural relativism », which
consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim
culture should be deprived of the right to equality,
freedom and secular values in the name of respect
for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce
our critical spirit out of fear of being accused
of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept
which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion
with stigmatisation of its believers.
plead for the universality of freedom of expression,
so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all
continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries
that our century should be one of Enlightenment,
not of obscurantism.
have been roughly translated:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from Somali origin, is member of
Dutch parliament, a member of the liberal party
VVD. She is the writer of the film Submission which
caused the assasination of Theo Van Gogh by an Islamist
in november 2004. She lives under police protection.
Chahla Chafiq, a writer of Iranian origin exiled
in France, is a novelist and an essayist. She's
the author of "Le nouvel homme islamiste ,
la prison politique en Iran " (2002). She also
wrote novels such as "Chemins et brouillard"
Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review
who defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist
ideologies), author of several reference books on
« laicité » and fanatism : Tirs
Croisés : la laïcité à
l'épreuve des intégrismes juif, chrétien
et musulman (with Fiammetta Venner), Frère
Tariq: discours, stratégie et méthode
de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation obscurantiste
(Grasset, 2005). She received the National Prize
of laicité in 2005.
French philosopher, born in Algeria, engaged against
all the XXth century « ism » (Fascism,
antisemitism, totalitarism, terrorism), he is the
author of La Barbarie à visage humain, L'Idéologie
française, La Pureté dangereuse, and
more recently American Vertigo.
Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and
the internationally best-selling author of "The
Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform
in Her Faith" (en francais: "Musulmane
Mais Libre"). She speaks out for free expression
based on the Koran itself.
Mehdi Mozaffari, a professor from Iranian origin
and exiled in Denmark, is the author of several
articles and books on Islam and Islamism such as:
Authority in Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa:
Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalization and
Writer, TV International English producer; Director
of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International
Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular
Society's Secularist of the Year award.
Taslima Nasreen was born in Bangladesh. Doctor,
her positions defending women and minorities brought
her in trouble with a committee of integrist called
« Destroy Taslima » and to be persecuted
as « apostate » - a fatwa was issued
ordering her execution.
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including
Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses and, most
recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many
literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the
Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany's Author
of the Year Award, the European Union's Aristeion
Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature,
the Premio Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize
for European Literature. He is a Commandeur of the
Ordre des Arts et Lettres, an Honorary Professor
in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of
PEN American Center. His books have been translated
into over 40 languages. A fatwa was issued ordering
his execution for The Satanic Verses.
Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing
French newspaper who have republished the cartoons
on the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the Danish
citizens targeted by Islamists).
Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim;
Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out; and The Origins
of the Koran, is at present a Research Fellow at
a New York Institute conducting philological and
historical research into the Origins of Islam and
its Holy Book.
Born in Lebanon, a Christian, Antoine Sfeir choose
French nationality to live in an universalist and
« laïc » (real secular) country.
He is the director of Les cahiers de l'Orient and
has published several reference books on Islamism
such as Les réseaux d'Allah (2001) et Liberté,
égalité, Islam: la République
face au communautarisme (2005).
The Blanket will feature a biography of each
of the signatories in the next 12 issues, along
with each of the cartoons their number represents.
See also Freedom
of Speech Index