Robert Redeker’s life has changed a lot in the past four months – since the 19th of September, to be exact. Until then, his students in Toulouse knew him as a philosophy teacher, his friends from the Temps Modernes knew him as a member of their editorial committee, and the main Parisian editors knew him as the author of eclectic and provocative pieces. Until the fatal 19th of September: on this date, Le Figaro published an article by Redeker that violently denounced Islam as a religion that exalted “violence and hate”, and Mohammed, “the impitiable war-monger, pillager, killer of jews, and polygamist.” The next day, he was called out vindictively by an influential Muslim newscaster (on al-Jazeera), referred to as the “islamophobe du jour”, and deluged with letters and messages that became more and more violent, and finally issued a death threat by a website considered close to al-Qaida.
Islam must find its place in the West. Abdennour Pierre Bidar, professor of philosophy, is persuaded of this and wants to convince us as well. But his Islam is particular – it is the result of a long personal path that has let him to consider himself today as an atypical muslim, a “polka-dotted zebra” who believes in a divine presence and in individual liberty. He is against those who lock themselves into submission to the religious law and to “the mortal idea of jihad”.