In the on-going discussions concerning Islam, the question of its numerous prohibitions and of its inability to adapt to modern society surfaces constantly. It is commonly considered to be a question of good taste to make a distinction between an Islam that is open, peaceful, and compatible with contemporary society and an Islam that is fundamentalist and decisively intolerant in all matters of faith. But is such a distinction valid? Does it not derive above all from an attitude that seeks to be “politically correct” and which makes any serious discussion impossible, to the great detriment of necessary evolutions, rendering them, indeed, unattainable?
In direct, clear language, Anne-Marie Delcambre shows that many of the prohibitions and constraints as well as the problems and difficulties of the Muslim religion in the world today are not simply fundamentalist aberrations but, on the contrary, derive directly from the very essence of Islam itself. Many of the elements of these proscriptions, interdictions, and commands are, in fact, to be found in the Qur’an and in authentic Muslim tradition. This is, indeed, the case in such matters as the discriminatory status assigned to Jews and Christians, the call to Holy War (Jihad) and even to murder, the position of women, the uncritical and anti-historical approach to the fundamental texts of Islam, the place of the Prophet, etc.
This honest examination of these questions is indispensable in order to acquire an accurate, objective understanding of Islam today.
Anne-Marie Delcambre, holds doctorates in law and in Islamic Civilization. She is Professor of Arabic at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Paris. Her other books include: Enquêtes sur l’islam: En hommage à Antoine Moussali (with Joseph Bosshard et alii), Desclée de Brouwer, 2004. Mahomet, Desclée de Brouwer, 1999, 2003. L’Islam, La Découverte, 1990, 2001. Mahomet, La Parole d’Allah, Gallimard, 1987, regularly reprinted. Méthode d’Arabe Linguaphone, Linguaphone Institute, 1979