At least one man is trying to analyze the big problem at the crux of recent killings in France, and even solve it. Abdennour Bidar (his first name means ‘Bearer and Herald of the Light’) is a 44-year-old French philosopher who has written books and articles. Most famously, after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, he tenderly wrote an “Open Letter to the Muslim World”.
Bidar works for the French Ministry of National Education on devising a model curriculum for a lay (non clerical) society. He consults with other governments and organizations wherever it is safe for him to travel. He was interviewed by the French-language newspaper Le Devoir on Nov. 9 while in Quebec and I have loosely translated his nine main points. He said his work in France is going badly and here’s why:
- France cam’t find a national consensus for a multicultural society where people live together in spite of their differences around an agreed set of shared values.
- We seek to find a formula that lets those who believe in heaven and those who do not live together with the same rights and duties.
- An ideal state of equilibrium would do justice to both unity and multiplicity. It would recognize the right to be different and, at the same time, investigate what the people have in common.
- We French have never really seized the notion of ‘fraternity’, although we talk a lot about ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’.
- Fraternity is at the heart of the proposed reform because it has an ethical dimension.
- Enmity and disunion are evident at the extreme.
- He defends an individualizing conception of faith and spirituality — a sort of protestantizing of the Muslim’s relationship with Allah.
- Today, the individualizing of belief has reinvented the ways of belief. From this comes the crisis of the sacred dividing West against East.
- The cancer which gangrenes Islam comes out of Saudi Arabia. This country is charged with being the guardian of sacred places and the center of the diffusion of the true intelligence of Islamic culture but it is the incarnation of anything but.
Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!