Zineb el-Rhazoui: “Islam Isn’t Sacred”

Zineb el-Rhazoui is a young French writer who was born in Morocco. She left Islam at an early age, and is now a secular atheist.

In January 2015 Ms. El-Rhazoui was working for the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo at the time of the jihad massacre. However, she was not present at the editorial meeting targeted by the attackers, and so escaped the slaughter.

In the following video Zineb el-Rhazoui appears on a French talk show to discuss her new book, Destroy Islamic Fascism. Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


00:00   Good evening, Zineb el-Rhazoui. —Good evening. —You are a former journalist at Charlie Hebdo.
00:04   You published “13 Witnesses in the Heart of the Attack” [Bataclan], and you return with a book
00:08   called “Destroying Islamic Fascism”.
00:12   First, if this government initiative of deradicalization in prison
00:16   isn’t working, says the Minister of Justice, we change everything;
00:20   we isolate the most difficult detained, and we question this course.
00:24   Does it surprise you? —Well, it doesn’t surprise me. I think that for a long time people
00:28   have been saying it’s not working. First of all, it’s a good thing to have a finding of failure:
00:32   at least they had the wisdom to say, well, we stop the damage.
00:37   For me deradicalization first of all liberates the speech
00:41   about Islam. It’s first of all treating Islam and
00:45   Islamist ideology that grew inside it in a
00:49   Rational way. Subject it to criticism
00:53   of ideas, and also force this religion to submit to the law,
00:57   that’s deradicalization. —And I notice that your book
01:01   is dedicated to Muslim atheists; that’s how you define yourself?
01:05   —Yes. It’s a wink of humor. You know, today in France
01:10   we are hostages of the narrative that tells us:
01:14   be careful, criticizing Islam is racist! Meaning that there’s confusion
01:18   between an idea and a race. Well if a Muslim race exists,
01:22   then I’m a member of it, right? But I am an atheist, and secular.
01:26   So you say “it’s an Islamic fascism”. The word “fascism”
01:30   is extremely strong, and you’re going even further, because you say,
01:35   “It succeeded where other fascisms from the right wing failed,
01:39   while giving itself respectability.” It’s truly violent, since
01:43   you don’t say ISLAMIST, you say ISLAMIC, meaning what? It’s Islam itself
01:47   that you are questioning? —Listen, I think that first of all Islam isn’t —
01:51   we have to accept the idea — that Islam isn’t sacred.
01:55   It’s sacred for those who believe,
02:00   but not for the rest of society. Would we today, for example,
02:04   accept the idea of protecting Judaism or Catholicism from any criticism
02:08   and from reason? No. Well, concerning Islam, it’s the same:
02:12   Islam, when followed to the letter, like anything followed
02:16   to the letter, certainly becomes totalitarian, and this totalitarianism
02:20   is sold to us today by its followers as something virtuous and something good.
02:25   And you, when you say that, you aren’t under the impression,
02:29   you are going to tell me, now it’s Politically Correct, but I was talking on this set
02:33   with Eric Zemmours or Philippe de Villiers who were sitting in your chair and they were saying
02:37   “Islam is incompatible with France”, but it’s not what you are saying.
02:41   But NO religion is compatible with democracy!
02:45   This democracy was created by putting religion aside.
02:49   So for me, Islam, as culture,
02:53   as civilization, defines itself first of all
02:58   by many other things than religion. And by the way we need to establish
03:02   still a very clear distinction between Islam as an idea and Muslims.
03:06   Muslims are diverse; it’s not a monolith,
03:10   and they are individuals, those are people who have rights.
03:14   So, I say in my book that the right wing like the Islamic right wing,
03:18   even if they don’t have the same societal project, they have the same dialectic,
03:23   and both refuse to see Muslims as individuals and persist
03:27   in seeing them as a community —And an individual who has right to live without Islam
03:31   like he wants in his own way. And it could mean being and atheist or a believer.
03:35   Is that what you are saying? —First of all, secularism is the only circumstance that allows
03:39   any person to practice his religion. To my knowledge, in Islamic theocracies no one has the right
03:43   to believe anything else or worship anything else, so here the question
03:47   isn’t even freedom of religion. Freedom of religion exists in France, voilà;
03:51   However, the definition of Muslims as “a community”,
03:55   I do refuse the idea of a self-proclaimed religious community,
04:00   with pseudo-representatives, who wish to obtain
04:04   separate rights, more rights, [privileges] in the Republic.
04:08   Islamic fascism. You were at Charlie Hebdo, you lived, you participated
04:12   in the issue right after the massacre, and you were very close, unfortunately,
04:16   to all the victims of Charlie Hebdo. Do you think that today, French society,
04:20   French politicians have evolved on the question of the radical Islamism, of the danger?
04:25   Absolutely not! I even find that there was a regression. First,
04:29   because which newspaper would dare to draw the prophet today?
04:33   Do we have more freedom of speech? Especially about Islam,
04:37   about something we cannot criticize, “…otherwise blood will be spilled.”
04:41   That’s still the message from the terrorists, and we are, on the contrary —
04:45   in fact we give them accolades: no, no, you can’t touch it! Careful, Islam is a religion
04:50   of peace and love. This is why I wrote this book. It’s really a cry of anger, to say, “Stop it!”
04:54   We won’t solve the problem until we call a spade the spade.
04:58   But you don’t beat around the bush, because you say that even the moderate imams,
05:02   do they really do their job as critics? What is a moderate imam?
05:06   What does it mean? Even a group of people who take a position and who want French Islam
05:10   for example, don’t you recognize them? —Well, a moderate imam, I’m asking myself,
05:14   who is a moderate imam? Is it someone who condemns the attacks, for example, OK?
05:18   It happens, fortunately; they do it! —Well, listen, fine, I’m tempted to say,
05:22   “We’re lucky they do it”, but to condemn the attacks means to condemn something that is already
05:26   condemned by the law. For me, an enlightened imam, however, would be
05:30   someone who examines the writings that cause those attacks, and who condemns those texts.
05:35   Concerning the debate about the burkini this summer, we didn’t
05:39   See a single imam who made an effort to say,
05:43   “You can be Muslim and wear a bikini”. None of them said it, they all
05:47   put themselves exactly in the victim camp, decrying Islamophobia,
05:51   making sure to always supply the victim narrative,
05:55   which gives Muslims the impression of being part of a large persecuted community,
06:00   while they should themselves be more appeasing.
06:04   What you say is that “Islamophobia” is a concept that today is malign and misleading,
06:08   and some people use it politically. —For me it’s an absolute intellectual imposture.
06:12   For me “Islamophobia” is a dialectical, discursive tool,
06:16   created to shut up those who criticize Islam in the West,
06:20   where Islam doesn’t have coercive power.
06:24   Because in the Islamic theocracies “Islamophobia” doesn’t exist.
06:29   What exists is denial of blasphemy, apostasy and insult to the religion.
06:33   Where Islam has judicial power, people who criticize it are legion,
06:37   but they end up in jail; caned, like Al-Badawi. They aren’t, however, accused of
06:41   “Islamophobia”. So for me, on top of everything, comparing one more time
06:45   the criticism of religion to racism against individuals that are called “Muslims”,
06:49   knowing that it’s hard to define a Muslim: is it someone
06:53   who was born into this creed, or someone who chose it? Or someone who is perceived as such,
06:58   or someone who defines himself as such? I don’t know who is a Muslim.
07:02   So to say that criticizing Islam as a religious dogma, written by Bedouins in a desert
07:06   fifteen centuries ago, is to hate personally all people associated with this community,
07:10   is still an insupportable intellectual shortcut!
07:14   Long live free thinking? — Of course long live free thinking! —That’s what you are saying.
07:18   Just a last word. You say why women are particularly targeted. I didn’t know it.
07:22   But you said that for men there are also interdictions concerning clothing,
07:26   for example in the Quran, they cannot wear golden or silver thread, but nobody talks about it.
07:30   Listen, Muslim men know it very well. A Muslim man is forbidden to wear
07:34   silk, gold or silver. Yet we don’t hear of employees of a company
07:39   going on strike because there are silk threads in their uniforms.
07:43   We don’t hear of jewelry stores ransacked because they sell silver chains or…
07:47   we don’t hear all that. However, we hear
07:51   all day long about the full-face veil and the burkini.
07:55   This clearly indicates that there’s sexism, incidentally, a sexism that
07:59   represses the women under this Islamist ideology. It’s by the way a common point with all the other
08:03   fascisms that also practise a repressive sexism against women and homosexuals.
08:07   It shows you that they have a problem with the women.
08:11   When they are veiled here, it’s a problem; when they aren’t
08:15   veiled in Muslim countries, it’s a problem. It’s always a problem.
08:20   So there are clothing restrictions for men in Islam, but you don’t hear about it.
08:24   Nobody talks about “burka-shorts”, even though we know that a Muslim man
08:28   isn’t supposed to show skin between his belly button and his knees,
08:32   and yet there are no “burka-shorts” on the beach. They wear regular swimwear.
08:36   Like the rest of the citizens: atheists, Christians or Jews. —Thank you Zineb
08:40   Zineb: Destroy Islamic Fascism. Thank you very much. —Thank you
08:45   Thank you for this cry and this forceful conviction.

12 thoughts on “Zineb el-Rhazoui: “Islam Isn’t Sacred”

  1. Slightly off-topic – but has anyone considered how the Charlie Hebdo massacre may have been planned on the basis of knowing about the editorial meeting? In which case, surely any of those who may have had such knowledge, but who were not present, may have been in contact with the attackers, or intermediaries?

    I’m not implying here anything about Mme el-Rhazoui – it could have been someone else. Just after the massacre, I recall reading that one of the editors had a Maghrebi girlfriend (Algerian, I think) – who his family did not desire to see at the funeral… did they also suspect something? Just saying…

    • Green-

      Your theory is well within the realm of possibility.

      The Frenchman who was abducted and beheaded while hiking in the Algerian mountains in 2014 was allegedly sold out by his local friends/guides.

      • It could be that their editorial meeting was a regularly scheduled thing that wasn’t hidden?

        As for the poor fellow that raspailwasright mentions: how could *any* sensible person go hiking by himself in the Algerian mountains? Hiking by oneself anywhere is dangerous, but especially in an area like Algeria, known for its disrespect for human life and the rule of law.

        Anyone in the U.S. who hikes by himself on the Appalachian Trail is asking for trouble. Lots of doped-up brigands lie in wait for the naive. It was a safe enough endeavor at one time, and (after things fall apart and resolve themselves into new social alignments) it will be so again.

        But that will be after all of us are gone.

        • Are meetings like that usually made public though? Where I am, they’re mostly just an item in the Outlook calendar – and not mentioned, unless in a conversation.

  2. The self dishonest countries playing the Good Devil has gone and confused itself terribly. The French could select a Muslim president. No wait. That did not work. Too late..here comes…….

  3. at 3:02 min. she claims not to confuse islam and muslims.
    Watch out! We should give it up to blame a book! It is muslims who cause all the problems, not a book from 1400 years ago.
    BTW : nobody blames national socialism and its holy book Mein Kampf for the nazi crimes, but only the perpetrators themselves. Why abandon this logic in the case of muslims?Is this another rhetoric scam like the so called islamophobia, a desease unknown to the psychosphere?

  4. Zineb thoroughly, but thoroughly, confounds Islam with literal belief in other religions. She claims that any religion, if believed literally, is totalitarian. This is simply not true. Many, if not most, religions have conformity to a government in their dogmas. There is nothing in Jewish, Christian, or Buddhist teachings that mandates the overthrow of the government under which the adherent lives.

    Islam is not like that. It is part of the fundamental, base, not-to-be-ignored dogma of Islam that any non-Islamic government be replaced with an Islamic government that enforces sharia, as defined by Islamic law and commentary. This is not optional for Muslims. Any Muslim who kills another Muslim that does not advocate the imposition of sharia law in every country is acting fully in accord with sharia law. I repeat: a mandatory aspect of sharia Islamic law is to kill any Muslim who neglects the spread of sharia governments.

    Given that mandate, how can you have a secular Muslim or a moderate Muslim? You can only have a suspended Muslim, where part (or all) of sharia law is ignored. How long is it ignored? Forever? Until Muslims gain sufficient political power? For the present generation? Who knows? It’s a crapshoot. But having Muslims in our country is exactly like those unexploded World War II bombs the Germans are always finding: they may be perfectly safe for the foreseeable future, but then again, they may explode at any time.

    To extend the metaphor, the bombs may not explode, but they can leach poisonous chemicals into the groundwaters over time. Muslims may not practice terror at all, but they form hundreds of organizations and practice identity politics with a vengeance. Politics in any “diverse” society is evenly balanced and unable to act, so any group acting as a bloc gains immense advantage through the political process. So, the Muslims infiltrate, subvert, and coopt democratic institutions. In a sense, the terrorist activities act as an early warning sign of irreversible underlying rot, and may be a blessing in disguise.

    The distinction between Islam and individual Muslims may work when your density of Muslims is low, but as the proportion of Muslims increases, the distinction breaks down. A Muslim by definition cannot be a democrat or republican. It’s logically you’re an apple or an orange, but not both.

    You have some Muslim sects such as Amadiyya, Alewites, Ismailis, etc that claim to reinterpret the violent, aggressive aspects of Islam. Generally these sects revolve around a charismatic leader or prophet, itself forbidden in Islam, and are persecuted as apostates in Islamic countries. Anyway, these sects do not succeed in squaring the circle: Islam is Islam, Muhammad is Muhammad, the Koran is a manual of murder and aggression, and Muslims carry the seeds of totalitarian oppression.

    Right now, political leaders such as Trump and even Hillary distinguish peaceful immigrants, including Muslims, from terrorists. I fully understand that Trump, regardless of his beliefs, has got to approach it like that to get elected. Again, any election in our diverse society is on a knife’s edge, and to say you would absolutely filter out a particular religion would lose you the election. I’m not saying Trump believes that: nobody knows. But, I’m saying that ultimately, anyone who is a professing Muslim should not be admitted to Western countries. If they want to practice as a Muslim, they should develop their own society/country as a democratic Islamic country. Good luck to them, and the riches of the world if they succeed. But, the time for experimentation in Western societies has ended.

    • But having Muslims in our country is exactly like those unexploded World War II bombs the Germans are always finding: they may be perfectly safe for the foreseeable future, but then again, they may explode at any time.

      Good analogy. I’m going to DM Trump’s peeps with that one.

  5. I hope this young women can afford the best personal protection out there, because between her book and this television appearance she has basically marked herself for death.

  6. Look at her, she is no Arab. Roman genes flow in her blood, great to see she has thrown off the shackles that enslaved her ancestors.

    • Baucent-

      This is uncommon but not rare here in North Africa.

      It is always a joy to see European genes shining through the ugly masses of the inbred Turko-Arabic stock.

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