How “Islamophobic” is Michel Houllebecq? He has said: “The Koran turns out to be much better than I thought, now that I’ve reread it — or rather, read it. The most obvious conclusion is that the jihadists are bad Muslims … an honest reading will conclude that a holy war of aggression is not generally sanctioned, prayer alone is valid.”
Perhaps Houllebecq skipped over these passages:
2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”
4:34: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for Allah’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; Allah is All-high, All-great.”
4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”
5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”
5:38: “And the thief, male and female: cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned, and a punishment exemplary from Allah; Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.”
8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, “˜I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers” hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!–
8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”
8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”
9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”
9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”
9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”
9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”
47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”
“A Muslim-run France? Novel sparks Islamophobia row,” by Tony Todd, France24, January 4, 2015:
France most notorious and internationally best-known novelist Michel Houellebecq insisted Saturday that his new book “Submission”, which envisions a future France ruled by a Muslim government, is not a far-right racist scare story.
What race is Islam again? I keep forgetting. And why is standing up for freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law “far-right”?
“Submission”, which is released in French on Wednesday, has been the subject of intense debate in recent weeks, particularly for its portrayal of Islam.
In 2001 Houellebeck [sic] described Islam as “the stupidest of all religions”, a position he has since vocally distanced himself from.
Has Islam changed since 2002, or has Houllebecq?
But his latest book has stirred criticism from all quarters and been attacked widely by the French media and on social media. France’s Muslim community accuse the author of inciting Islamophobia in a country with Europe’s biggest Muslim population.
Leading the barrage is Laurent Joffrin, editor-in-chief of left-leaning newspaper Libération, who argues that the novel “will mark the date in history when the ideas of the far-right made a grand return to serious French literature”.
“This is a book that ennobles the ideas of the [far right anti-Europe and anti-immigration] National Front (FN) party,” he added.
Not so, said philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, a member of France’s prestigious Academie Française, who described Houellebecq as a man, “with his eyes wide open and who is not intimidated by political correctness”.
Profound changes to French society
“Submission” is set in 2022, at the end of a hypothetical second mandate for unpopular Socialist French President François Hollande, who is beaten in the first round of a presidential election by far right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen and the fictional Mohammed Ben Abbes, who leads France’s first “Muslim Fraternity” party.
The French electorate, wary of seeing the FN take power, vote for Abbes, a Muslim moderate whose election provokes immediate and profound changes to French society.
Women change the way they dress and leave the workplace in droves to look after families, solving France’s unemployment problem, while the book asserts that the resulting increased conversion to Islam kills freedom of thought in an increasingly patriarchal society.
In a long interview with France Info (in English on the Paris Review), Houellebecq insisted his novel was not right-wing “provocation”.
“I accelerate history, but no, I can’t say that the book is a provocation—if that means saying things I consider fundamentally untrue just to get on people’s nerves,” Houellebecq said. “I condense an evolution that is, in my opinion, realistic.”
“Yes, the book has a scary side. I use scare tactics,” he added. “Actually, it’s not clear what we are meant to be afraid of, [white far-right] nativists or Muslims. I leave that unresolved.”
‘A Muslim party makes a lot of sense’
And while Houellebecq freely admits that his vision of a future France is “not very realistic” because Islamic political unity in France “is the most difficult thing to image”, he insists that Muslims are dangerously unrepresented in mainstream French politics.
Muslims, he says, are “very far from the left and even further from the Green Party” while “one doesn’t really see why they would vote for the right, much less the extreme right which utterly rejects them”.
“For those reasons, it seems to me, a Muslim party makes a lot of sense,” he said.
Houellebecq, best known in the English-speaking world for his 1998 novel “Atomised” and his 2001 “Platform”, a story about a French couple who create a sex tourism business in Thailand that falls victim to Muslim terrorists, said he had read the Koran while researching his latest novel.
“The Koran turns out to be much better than I thought, now that I’ve reread it — or rather, read it,” he said. “The most obvious conclusion is that the jihadists are bad Muslims … an honest reading will conclude that a holy war of aggression is not generally sanctioned, prayer alone is valid.”