Do you know the proverb “Culture is a second nature,” inspired by the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal? I was born in France, I grew up in France, and I am a 30-year-old French man among French people who has understood one thing with most of the Muslims he has met in his life: “Faced with culture, nature is only a second nature.” Nature is the force that requires you to live the longest time possible. It seems to be a universal reason to avoid death, between all the sensitive beings. To be sure that its mission won’t fail, nature has made eating (the way to survive individually) or copulating (the way to survive collectively) pleasant, and physical injury (the way to die) painful. But the spiritual development of humans inspires means and ends that are able to make them flee the best and desire the worst. A choice that happens in men and women’s minds hasn’t been decided by genes, as has the color of our skin. Suicide is a voluntary behaviour that depends on choices inspired by moral tastes or cultural values into the spirit, and not as a result of an inevitable urge to sneeze.
The Islamic faith is a property of mind integrated in the believer’s brain influenced by family education, school education, the sociocultural environment of the society which the believer belongs to… I was Muslim until I was 18. During the time I was a Muslim, I had a second religion I was aware and proud of: a religion without fate, a religion where Paradise and Hell are visible before death, a religion where God never speaks, a religion where God has been created by those who believe in Him, a religion where God is the (living) picture of those who believe in Him. This other religion, now my only religion, is France. I am a French patriot who has always loved this country, his country, his home, and I know what I owe to the teachers and Christian, Atheist or Jewish friends I have met when I was at the school of the “République.”
This gave me the ability to put my Muslim life into perspective and to understand why I was who I was (and not another). French culture has incorporated in me some values that the mosque education has never been able to destroy. I was a Muslim but I was mostly a humanist, a lover of freedom of expression and a defender of the freedom of belief. To go to the mosque has always been a duty for me. To learn how to be a good imitator of the Prophet Muhammad was often a constraint. But learning to understand others in order to understand myself and to be confronted with love, reason, music and pleasure of a life where I was not a believer, it was joy and satisfaction. I was a young man who had a lot of dreams; he had never talked to the God he believed in. Not because of shame, but because I considered that what I wanted was insignificant or futile by Him. The God of the Quran knows no other things to do with humans than blame, subject and guilt them. The young man I was decided one day to understand his faith before learning it. It was during the summer holidays before my first year at university.
My own experience, both before and after my apostasy from Islam, has made me feel that a majority of Muslims haven’t read entirely the enormous book of the Quran. Most of them prefer to say that the Quran contains this information or this other as such imam or such sheikh have said. And most of them prefer to ask and trust the word of a “more informed believer” than to find the answer by themselves, in front of any difficulty. Did Allah justify in the Quran why He decided to prohibit eating pork? Tell 100 different Muslims from our Western countries if the answer to this question is written in the Quran. The true answer is “No,” but the majority of the believers you will question will tell you “I don’t know,” “Maybe” or “Yes.” The reading of the whole Quran, from the beginning to the end, imposes me three observations:
Observation number 1 : there is a moral and intellectual antagonism between the Quran’s legal laws/value judgments and me. This finding doesn’t prove that Allah doesn’t exist. To demonstrate that the laws of the Quran are cruel, unjust or misogynistic doesn’t prove that Allah doesn’t exist or Muhammad was a liar. Either God is good or God doesn’t exist is a wobbly philosophy for me! Why might God not be bad? Why would omniscience or omnipotence force God to do more good than evil? There is no consensus on a single definition of good in the humanity. So nobody can believe in God if he assumes that any human can “kill” (a) God by judging him bad.
Observation number 2 : the real Islam wanted by the real author(s) of the Quran is not a religion of peace but a religion of war and enslavement (physical and spiritual), opposed to freedom of thought. But the most powerful press and politicians from Western countries are increasingly dominated by some naive, malicious or ignorant people who don’t do the necessary things to inform citizens against Islamisation and Islam. Consequently, in a country like mine, one day during the 21th century, the Islamic part of the population where I live will become the majority. And because we are in a democracy, the majority defines the dominant cultural force and inspires laws.
Observation number 3 (deduced by the first two observations): I have searched for a long time but never found a theological study able to demonstrate the danger of Islam without moralism or Manichaeism. So I have worked for years to create the book I always wanted to be accessible to my fellow countrymen. A study that can prove to Muslims and non-Muslims that Islam is false or illogical before proving that Islam is bad.
There are 57 Muslim countries in the world, and many of the oldest are Arab and Muslim countries. The religious melting pot doesn’t exist in countries where the demographic and political Islamisation dominates. Religious minorities live apart in such countries. And freedom of belief is the most mistreated. And individual liberties of women, in order to be considered by law as men are considered, are violated more than elsewhere. In a country where the Quran is the law, a woman is infantilized her lifetime because she still belongs to a man, from her birth to her death. Why won’t Islam, that has always produced the same effects when it dominates politically and demographically, do in France what it has done everywhere, at all times and in all places? I had to carry out a study that shows to my compatriots that Islam is false/incoherent before trying to show that Islam is evil, in the strange Western World where I live and where too many people believe that the moral end justify the immoral means. I have understood that the secret of such a work was hiding in many (falsely) insignificant details in the Quran. I’ll give you an example of my method that has for goal to discredit the Quran by seeking to demonstrate that his official author is far from a perfect God, omniscient and omnipotent (as said in Quran), and seems rather to be created by a 7th century guru with a very indigent scientific and dialectic culture. In surah 5, verse 38, the author of the Quran (officially the God Allah) said “Cut off the hand of the thief, the male and the female, in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent punishment from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” Most critical scholars of Islam and its sacred texts tell you that this legal order is horrible and that the God Allah supports barbaric methods to solve the problem of theft. In my book, Face to faith with Islam, a book that I have worked on to analyze Muslim texts without value judgments or moralism, this legal text from the Quran inspired me the next observations:
– Allah doesn’t say which hand of a thief must be cut, in this verse or anywhere else in Quran. This forces the layman (human) having to fill a sacred indecision by a choice that the divine (Allah) has never done.
– Allah doesn’t give a minimum amount of the stolen object for which to cut the hand is imposed. So, for an apple theft, the hand can be cut.
– Allah gives no minimum age for which the thief hand cutting is required. So, an apple thief who is only 12 years old will have his hand cut.
– Allah says nowhere in the Quran that the guilt, of a person subject to criminal penalties, should be judged by an impartial judge (officially close to none of the parts : accusation, defense) so a man can conduct an investigation as it pleases him, anarchic or informal, and convict a thief by cutting his hand alone. The Quranic world where everyone can take justice by and for themselves is the opposite of our Western countries where, by common sense, it is not allowed for citizens to take justice.
– Allah doesn’t define private property, property giving meaning to the criminalization of the act of theft. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, there was no administration listing of what belonged to people: houses, horses, swords… In many different places, it was up to popular reputation or to word of each to prove that anyone owned a land, an animal or an object. It is difficult to judge situations in such conditions knowing that the award is significant, painful and especially irreversible.
– At the time of Prophet Muhammad, there were no video cameras or biometric tools to investigate in order to find out who robbed this house or stole this object. What is a charge of a theft which the Prophet Muhammad has never seen in his time? It is a charge of theft by a person or some persons against one or more persons . So it considers the value of speech, gestures and charisma of the person who is defending or accusing another…
The smugness in that one simple narration about how to punish the male or female thief, these indecisions, these imprecisions, jumped out at me and threw in my spirit the way to discredit the legend of a superior intelligence that had sent such legislation, as imprecise and senseless. It was part of an inefficient legal cosmology and whose practice can only ensure the triumph of conspiracy or misunderstanding over the truth. The sketchy background of the Quran and its form (how to describe the text substance) can make an already dangerous Islamic law even more dangerous! The Quran invites more to cut the hand of a 12-year-old apple thief than to refrain from it. Here is my method to discredit the Quran and to prove that its dangerousness is matched only by its (technical) mediocrity. Nowhere had I needed to include value judgments in my analysis to try to prove that this law is barbaric and cruel. My study, a new way to demonstrate that the Quran is impractical, is inspired by the fact that the limited intelligence of the guru who created this text of laws is far from the ambitions of the God for whom he claims to speak. I approach all the most sensitive issues (pedophilia, criminalization of freedom of belief, restriction of the fundamental freedom of women…) and the most interesting in our time for the younger generations (the concept of “scientific miracles”, children’s education…) with this new method which aims at dusting off the philosophical work that leads to analyze the limits of the sacred texts of the Quran.
Half the contents of my book is also dedicated to tearing up the best arguments from the best tribunes defending Islam in the Western world. My book is the product of many years of my life dedicated to reading, to studying, to thinking, to debating and to trying to find the right answer against the greatest threat of the 21st century. It is not an artistic challenge. It aims at alerting and mobilizing the patriots of my country with a different way that I suggest, a new method to win the battle of the ideas against a totalitarism without borders nor uniforms, and that we simply call “religion” in our Western World. This original Islam wanted by Allah or Muhammad in the Quran is a reason to live that is so dangerous for our most personal liberties, such as the liberty to think, to be or to love. This reason to live and to die never turned me away from my personal dreams and ambitions, wishes that God Allah never bothered with, and what this innocent child I was has always craved for: to never refrain from believing in anything and to refuse to let death give meaning to his life.
Majid Oukacha is a former Muslim, but above all an eternal French patriot. He is the author of Face to faith with Islam.