Making A Difference

Manifesto: Together Facing The New Totalitarianism

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

Manifesto: Together Facing The New Totalitarianism
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The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings ofMuhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle forthese universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in theideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of Westand East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democratsand theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations.The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined toimpose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state:nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianismand hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom andsecularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world ofdomination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all theothers. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed ordiscriminated people.

We reject 'cultural relativism', which consists in accepting that men andwomen of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom andsecular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse torenounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia",an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion withstigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a criticalspirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our centuryshould be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, of Somalian origin, is member of Dutch Parliament, member ofthe liberal party VVD and writter of the film Submission which caused theassassination of Theo Van Gogh in november 2004. She lives under policeprotection.

Chahla Chafiq
Chahla Chafiq, is a novelist and an essayist of Iranian origin, exiled inFrance.

Caroline Fourest
Essayist, winner of National prize of laicité in 2005, editor in chief of Prochoix,a pro-Choice journalbased in France, .

Bernard-Henri Lévy
French philosopher, born in Algeria, engaged against all the XXth century'ism's, and most recently, the author of American Vertigo.

Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the internationally best-sellingauthor of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in HerFaith

Mehdi Mozaffari
Mehdi Mozaffari, professor of Iranian origin, exiled in Denmark, author ofseveral articles and books on Islam and Islamism such as : Authority in Islam:From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalizationand Civilizations.

Maryam Namazie
Writer, TV International English producer; Director of the Worker-communistParty of Iran's International Relations; and 2005 winner of the National SecularSociety's Secularist of the Year award.

Taslima Nasreen
Journalist, novelist and poet, Taslima Nasreen attained global attention whenfundamentalist Muslim clerics lead a violent campaign for killing her and aprize was set for her head in response to her books and articles.

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including Midnight's Children,The Satanic Verses and, most recently, Shalimar the Clown. AnHonorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of PENAmerican Center. 

Philippe Val
Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing French newspaper whorepublished the controversial cartoons on prophet Muhammad).

Ibn Warraq
Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim; Leaving Islam :Apostates Speak Out ; and The Origins of the Koran, is at presentResearch Fellow at a New York Institute conducting philological and historicalresearch into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.

Antoine Sfeir :
Born in Lebanon, chose French nationality to live in 'laïc' (real secular)country. Director of Les cahiers de l'Orient who has published several referencebooks on Islamism such as Les réseaux d'Allah (2001) et Liberté,égalité, Islam : la République face au communautarisme (2005).

Originally carried in Jyllands-Posten on February28, 2006

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