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An Open Letter to the Muslim Community



Original Language: French | 64pp. | March 2015

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Full English translation available!

Rights sold: English – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan (Sampark), Italy (Ibis Edizioni), Germany (Editions du Crieur Public).

“Where do the crimes of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ come from? I’ll tell you, my friend. […] The roots of evil that cover your face today come from within you, this monster from your own belly, this cancer from your own body.”

In the aftermath of the brutal assassination of yet another journalist in the name of Islam and frustrated with the repeated action-reaction of the Muslim community reacting to an Islamist atrocity by completely disassociating Islamist extremists from Islam as a whole, French Muslim philosopher and professor Abdennour Bidar, published an open letter online to his fellow Muslims.

A passionately written wake-up call, profoundly steeped in both humanity and spirituality; Bidar scolds the Muslim community for not recognizing their own responsibility in the rise of extremism within their own religion.  He points a finger at religious leaders’ insistence on maintaining out-dated traditions, imposing a conflicting and growing dualism on each new generation as well as the hypocrisy of severely condemning Western values while taking advantage Western technology and scientific advancement.

Bidar does not, however, exonerate the West of its role in the tragic state of affairs.  Drawing on his Sufi upbringing, he encourages the Muslim community to lend a hand to Westerners to remind them of the incredible importance of spirituality and mysticism in everyday life, something the West seems to have forgotten in its race to consume and its downward spiral toward total individualism.

The initial version of this letter, originally published in October 2014 online, went viral in January after the attacks at Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.  This is an updated and augmented version.

Abdennour Bidar, 44, born and raised in France, is a philosopher specializing in Islam and its evolutions in modern society. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure, he taught philosophy for many years before, in 2012, going to work for the Ministry of Education and the High Council on Integration on pedagogy about the separation of Church and State. The author of numerous books, he has also hosted several shows on public radio on Islamic culture and identity.