Eight months in prison with a fine of 1,000 Euros was requested in Orl_ans as punishment for a 26 year-old who threatened to kill Robert Redeker, a philosophy professor who on 19 September 2006 published a critique against Islam in the Le Figaro daily newspaper. Mustapha Dian, the young Frenchman of Moroccan origins, sent three emails to Redeker who lives in the Toulouse region.
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.
A French philosophy teacher yesterday entered his third week in hiding after writing a newspaper comment piece calling the prophet Muhammad a merciless warlord and mass-murderer. Robert Redeker, 52, who teaches at a suburban Toulouse high school, this week won the support of famous French intellectuals including the philosopher Bernard-Henri L’vy, who warned that death threats against him were an attack on freedom of speech akin to the persecution of Salman Rushdie. But the case has divided opinion in France, with some human rights groups and academics condemning the death-threats but at the same time accusing Mr Redeker of deliberately writing a “stupid” and “nauseating” provocation.