“Lafif Lakhdar is a Tunisian intellectual living in Paris.” From “Lafif Lakhdar: A European Muslim Reformist,” by Menahem Milson for MEMRI, with thanks to David Zohar:
On December 10, 2006, at an international conference on Islam in Europe held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Menahem Milson presented the views of Arab reformist thinker Lafif Lakhdar on the issue of integration versus separate ethnic communal identity among Muslims in Europe.
The following is the transcript of the lecture.
Introduction: A Short Biography
Lafif Lakhdar is a Tunisian intellectual living in Paris. The name “Lafif Lakhdar” is the French transcription of his Arabic name, “Al-‘Afif Al-Akhdar.” He is one of the foremost reformist intellectuals in the Arab world today. His articles are published regularly on the liberal websites Elaph and Middle East Transparent, and afterwards are taken up by dozens of other reform-oriented sites. He is an outspoken and relentless critic of Islamism and Islamist terrorism.
On October 24, 2004, the liberal Arab websites www.elaph.com and www.metransparent.com published a manifesto written by Arab liberals — among them Lafif Lakhdar — in which they petitioned the U.N. to establish an international tribunal for the prosecution of terrorists and people and institutions that incite to terrorism.
The special significance of this petition was that it not only spoke of terrorism and terrorists in general terms, but specifically mentions by name a number of leading Islamist clerics as promoters of terrorism who should be prosecuted at the tribunal — among them, the prominent and media-savvy Islamist Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, one of the leading authorities of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is not surprising then that the banned Tunisian Islamist movement Al-Nahdha, headed by Sheikh Rashed al-Ghannushi, has declared Lafif Lakhdar an apostate, which many Islamists understand as a call for his assassination.
Lakhdar says: “A state in transition from theocracy to secularism is one whose constitution determines that the shari’a [Islamic religious law] is the first source of legislation…
“Women and non-Muslims in this state of transition are second-class citizens, and sometimes even zero-class citizens. For example, a woman is forbidden to run for the presidency or even for a lesser office, because in many Islamic countries women are still considered as lacking the intelligence needed for governing, and lacking the religious standing needed to perform religious ritual. Non-Muslim citizens are still treated as dhimmis”¦”
Read it all. Lakhdar has a great deal of note to say on a wide variety of topics.