Maybe we are paying for a certain ignorance with regard to this world, which leads us to readily accept oversimplifications…
“The media have the greatest responsibility of all. Because we end up making the conflict seem like a war against “the new crusades of the third millennium”; so I insist that we go and look at the figures – it’s enough to tear one’s hair out: has Boko Haram killed more Christians or more Muslims? And who is al Shabaab in Somalia killing? And that really is an internal war within Islam in the name of a perverse ideology… And it is naturally against the West too, because in the end, what they reproach a particular part of the Muslim world with, is the fact that they show too much tolerance towards a certain capitalism and so on and so on. The problem, however, is far broader…”
But if the clash is within Islam, isn’t the conflict also between a part of the Muslim world that favors reform and that is shedding blood because of these crises and the invasive actions of such brutally violent groups? Isn’t the problem also to do with a culture of human rights?
“I completely agree. There is a purely theological challenge that is to do with the relationship between the political and the religious: the Islamic world needs to look beyond a theocratical approach that has conditioned sovereigns states since the post-colonial era, so it is also a challenge of modernity. This is very true, there is no doubt about that. But it is one thing to say that and quite another to consider ISIS figures and those of other criminal organisations, as religious men and women. We would be playing their game if we fell into a trap like that. After all, what these people are saying has nothing to do with the tradition of the Quran either. Or with those who are part of the conservative front.”
How has the West reacted to this state of affairs?
“We have done nothing, we have let universities end up in the hands of the Salafists but there is more: We haven’t spent a dime on funding Islamic scholars who reflect on these matters and there are quite a few of them. We have sold arms instead.