France: Teacher in Hiding
Report; Posted on: 2006-09-30 20:14:29

After statements


A French high school philosophy teacher and author who carried out a scathing attack against the Prophet Muhammad and Islam in a newspaper commentary says he has gone into hiding under police protection after receiving a series of death threats, including one disseminated on an online radical Islamist forum.

The teacher, Robert Redeker, 52, wrote in the center-right daily Le Figaro 10 days ago that Muhammad was “a merciless warlord, a looter, a mass-murderer of Jews and a polygamist,” and called the Koran “a book of incredible violence.”

The Redeker case is the latest manifestation in Europe of a mounting ideological battle that pits those who believe Islam and the Prophet Muhammad can be criticized in the name of free speech against those in the Muslim community who believe no criticism can be tolerated.

A recent speech by Pope Benedict XVI that seemed to link Islam and violence caused such an uproar in the Muslim world that the pope issued a rare expression of regret.

The pope expressed regret for the reaction to his remarks after Muslims demonstrated against him around the world. Just this week, a Berlin opera house decided to cancel performances of the Mozart opera “Idomeneo” because of security fears over a scene showing the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad. The decision prompted an outpouring of protest about what was seen as the surrender of artistic freedom.

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