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French

2018

Blasphemy in Islam, past and present

Lecture by Hamadi REDISSI, Professor of Political Science at the University of Tunis, given on 26 June 2018 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome within the framework of the second international Congress of PLURIEL “Islam and Belonging”

Abstract

The issue of blasphemy has been a concern since the Islamist terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015. The victims however are not always Westerners. Blasphemy is the act of insulting, slandering or tarnishing someone’s reputation. The word takes on a religious meaning, referring to any irreverent speech about God, religion, revered people and sacred things. In Islam, the meaning does not vary, but the words to say it are different. The problem is that the positive law of Islamic countries is still deeply rooted in Islamic law, which is exemplary in its severity against the blasphemer: anyone who insults God, religion and the prophet of Islam is punishable by death penalty. Does this mean that criticism of religion is unacceptable in Islam? Not at all. But does it have anything to do with freedom? The question can be raised. It is the three following questions that are the subject of this lecture: the status of blasphemy today, to see if it is founded in classical Islamic law, and finally to question free expression in Islam.

Original title : “Le blasphème en islam hier et aujourd’hui”

Conférence de Hamadi REDISSI, professeur de sciences politiques à l’Université de Tunis, donnée le 26 juin 2018 à l’Université pontificale grégorienne à Rome dans le cadre du second Congrès international de PLURIEL “Islam et appartenances”

Résumé

La question du blasphème interpelle depuis l’attaque terroriste islamiste perpétrée contre le journal satirique Charlie Hebdo, le 7 janvier 2015. Mais les victimes ne sont pas toujours occidentales. Blasphemare est le fait d’injurier, de calomnier quelqu’un ou de ternir sa réputation. Le mot prend un sens religieux désignant toute parole irrévérencieuse à l’égard de Dieu, de la religion, des personnes vénérées et des choses sacrées. En islam, le sens ne varie pas mais les mots pour le dire sont autres. Le problème vient du fait que le droit positif des pays islamiques est encore profondément ancré dans le droit islamique lequel est d’une sévérité exemplaire contre le blasphémateur : quiconque insulte Dieu, la religion et le prophète de l’islam est punissable de la peine de mort. Est-ce à dire que la critique de la religion est impensable en islam ? Nullement. Mais a-t-elle un rapport avec la liberté ? La question se pose. Ce sont ces trois questions qui font l’objet de cette conférence : le statut du blasphème aujourd’hui, puis voir s’il est fondé en droit islamique classique, enfin s’interroger sur la libre pensée en islam.

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