Rémi Brague and Islam

Rémi Brague has just published Sur l’islam. If we think in terms of media categories, we can easily locate our author in the circle of communicating hell, where “learned Islamophobes” are roasting. The author is so aware of this that he begins by denouncing the absurdity of this expression (p. 13-27). His well-written book is a pleasure to read, which is no mean feat given its prodigious erudition. His charm is partly due to a cheerful irony, whose drollery occasionally tempers devastating criticism. This formidable man is a well of science. He knows everything and everything he says is, at least factually, unassailable. When this is not the case, or is only partly the case, he is the first to point it out. In short, his scientific probity is perfect, as is his self-critical capacity, the source of a profound modesty just as real as his false modesty is obvious.

Having carefully read Sur l’islam, pen in hand, I thought it would be useful to make a few comments. [In a different vein, read Fr. Adrien Candiard’s critical review]. The reader’s attention will probably be stimulated if I am transparent from the outset about my point of view and my intentions.

  1. Having devoted a chapter to cultural peace in my latest work, A Philosophy of War, I found in our author’s work material to deepen my own reflection, but also serious cause for concern, as Brague does not seem to me to be likely to help us out of a theological-political impasse whose perilous topography he certainly identifies with implacable rigor.
  2. Without being either an inveterate papolater or a primary and visceral Islamophile, I would still like to attempt a defense and illustration of Pope Francis’ Muslim policy. I might as well start here.
    Our author cites the famous statement dated November 26, 2013, in which the Pope expressed himself as follows: “True Islam and a proper interpretation of the Koran are opposed to all violence” (p. 77). Brague does not say it, but it is obvious that he is absolutely stunned. As a Catholic with a historical knowledge of the question that is as close as possible to perfection as is possible today, we can guess at his shock, and perhaps his dismay. Feelings no doubt shared by others. And, without targeting Francis in particular, Brague nevertheless proceeds to formally refute the Pope’s thesis. It is true that the Holy Father does not have a monopoly on such judgment, although he probably has his own way of understanding it—quite different, no doubt, from that of the average Islamophile.

Brague, not without humor, asks: “Who has the competence, and therefore the right, to make such a distinction [between true and false Islam]? In any case, it’s certainly not the Pope, who, by definition, makes his pronouncements from the outside. What would we say if the Dalai Lama took the liberty of distinguishing ‘true Christianity’ from its counterfeits (p. 78)?” Certainly. But if Christ really is the Son of God, and if the Pope really is the vicar of Christ, then he is certainly competent—intellectually, morally and legally—to make this kind of judgement, which concerns the salvation of mankind. So, even if this kind of assertion (or others) does not engage the Pope’s charism of infallibility, his assertion must undoubtedly be interpreted in a sense that does not simply amount to making him say nonsense which testifies to a complete ignorance of the question.

So as not to delay the presentation of my thesis too long, I give a faithful summary of Rémi Brague’s argument in an appendix. Its inevitable dryness may give the impression of a book more radical and less subtle than it is. Nevertheless, I feel I have neither forced the issue nor hardened the author’s position. Quite the contrary, in fact.

To put it in a nutshell, Brague sees Islam as a totalitarian enterprise (not in the sense of Hannah Arendt, cf. p. 125). Its ultimate goal is the Islamization of the entire planet, i.e., conquest and submission, willingly or by force, to God’s law. The ordinary means of conquest is war (and also “the cradle” [p. 225-227]—demographic submersion). The ordinary means of conversion are discrimination, intimidation, humiliation and vexation.

I have added a lengthy Appendix [at the bottom] to this concise summary, to give an idea of the massiveness and brutal rigor of the historian’s argument, which, I am sad to say, overwhelms defenses and wins conviction—so that, on some ground, his victory is complete. If I did not add this overly-long Appendix, anything I might say afterwards to justify Francis would be dismissed out of hand with a “You dream like he does. Read Brague.” But I have read Brague, and I can prove it. And having read him, I assert that the theological-political problem has not been resolved, even though it should be and, quite possibly, could be. It is only posed with greater precision. For which Brague is to be thanked.

It seems improbable to me that the Pope and all those around him are either crassly ignorant or blind. Thus, the question is: “What exactly can the Pope’s phrase mean in 2013?” What does he mean by the formulas “true Islam” and “proper interpretation of the Koran?” I am merely restating the question here, so as not to lose sight of our ultimate goal. But I do not think we will get the answer by examining Francis’ other statements on the subject, which are no less enigmatic or disconcerting. [For example, the Abu-Dhabi Joint Declaration signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, February 2019.] Thus, let us continue with our author.

Brague tells us that “religion and civilization [are] more closely linked [in Islam] than in Christianity” (p. 48). Indeed, the Prophet is a person who brings from God a system of legislation which man has a duty to obey (p. 61). Unlike the Law of Christ, this Muslim law is not simply made up of general rules that it is up to man to apply, using his conscience and practical reason, such as the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments or the Law of Love. As in the Old Testament and the ancient Jewish law, we are also dealing with much more precise precepts, such as those concerning inheritance, loan contracts and so on. Religion is therefore difficult to conceive of without the adoption of positive legislation, and thus without life within a civil society governed by such legislation. Any other situation is abnormal and needs to be regularized as fast as possible.

Nevertheless, I believe that Islam is much more than the simple observance of a civil-religious law in a more or less totalitarian theocratic state. Otherwise, we would be very close to a “Black Legend,” similar to that which prevails concerning Spain in the Golden Age, and which Brague is right to denounce, after having denounced the “retrospective myth” of Al-Andalus. [Speaking of Spain before the Reconquista, Brague wants to demolish the legend, the “retrospective dream… of a multicultural society where tolerance reigned” (p. 236). He is particularly hard on mythologists: “The paranoid loop is complete: if we cannot find traces of the past as we imagine it, it is because these traces have been erased” (p. 237).] Legend and myth go hand in hand. In a word, a religion, however embedded it must be in a civil society, however “civilized” it may be, is first and foremost a certain spiritual life, a soul. After reading Brague, I confess I did not feel like I had entered a soul, but rather like I had been crushed in a machine, without even understanding how the “machine” would be necessary for the life of the soul—which is probably partly the case—and without being at all convinced that this “mechanical-being” of religious man would be the whole of his religious existence. What our author tells us about the Muslim soul is reduced to the bare minimum. He sees it as “the unreserved surrender of the whole person into the hands of God” (p. 28). One gets the impression that this is the authentic fundamental spiritual attitude, the rest being like an added crust. Yet Brague knows so much that he could say so much more. For example, when he talks about obedience, rather than implicitly placing himself on the side of a liberal critique of servility, he could have emphasized how obedience is a great virtue of religion, even among Christians, when they have not forgotten it. [Christ “humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8); “And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrews 5:8)].

In a religion of the Law, observance of the Law does not go without a religious sense of observance of the Law. It is a relationship of physical union with God through the Law and through submission to His Power. This submission does not like reasoning. Not speculative, or not too speculative, but pure and simple submission to the obvious. For Islam is supposed to be self-evident. It would be obvious if we did not question so much and speculate. Instead of doing metaphysics, do mathematics, astronomy, medicine, music. Hence the hostility or reservations of the great thinkers against Kalam (apologetics), although after all, there is much to meditate on in the wonders of creation, which show the existence of God (Koran, LIX, 1; VII, 185). If man no longer questions, he seems to create an intimate union of the human spirit with his whole body to the will of God, as a kind of possession by the Master. Man seeks union with God and justification, and finds it only through radical obedience. This seems to be the mystical spring and, dare I say it, the “trick” of conviction. And once it is socialized, there is no getting away from it. To enter this soul, perhaps we need to start from the Jewish faith in justification and union through the Law, and remove everything that stands in the way of an easy path to the evidence of a certain emptiness that ensures union.

We need to go back to Psalm 118 to understand the soul of this religion (“Blessed are they… who walk in the law of the Lord”), leaving out certain elements (the Covenant, the Promise, the Messiah) and adding others. What are these others? First of all: “There is no power except in God” (Koran, XVIII, 39). To deny this is to “associate” something with God, which is the gravest of all sins. Associationism is not limited to polytheism. It includes any conception of creation that would tend to diminish this truth that God is “the one, the dominator” (p. 156. Al-wāḥid, al-Qahhar: Koran, XII, 39; XIII, 16; XIV, 48; XXXVIII, 65; XXXIX, 4; XL, 16). God is “pure,” washed clean of what we would associate with him [Brague refers to Daniel Gimaret, Les Noms divins en islam, Exégèse lexicographique et théologique (Paris: Cerf, 1988)].

This tends towards a maximum diminution of second causality in relation to first causality. Brague goes on to quote: “It was not you who killed them, but it was God who killed them. You did not shoot [arrow] when you shot, but it was God who shot“ (p. 202. Koran, VIII, 17.). But it is in this very impoverishment that man hopes to live in divine union. A philosophical analogue could be found in the West in the 14th century. Just as nominalists wanted to protect divine freedom from physis, Ideas, essences, their logic and Hellenic necessity, so Muslims were determined to protect divine sovereignty from all other powers.

More generally, I believe that, in order to enter into the Muslim soul, greater importance should be given to the place of “nature” in this religion. Here we are approaching the heart of the difficulty that the Westerner steeped in postmodernity, however reluctantly, and however learned, has in understanding Islam: the complete elimination of the concept of nature from thought and culture—both in Western postmodern ideology, and in the exaggerated supernaturalism that has been flourishing in Catholic theology for some time now. (Brague is certainly aware of this, having devoted one of his best books to nature in Aristotle). For what Islam clearly shows, and what is precious from a Christian point of view, is that nature is neither supernature, nor a purely logical and very unreal residue obtained by mentally subtracting “concrete essence” minus supernature. Nature is nature. And it exists. Which brings us to the heart of the matter.

Brague is a true philosopher, but too often in this book he speaks as if he were merely a historian of ideas and facts. The result is that the theological-political problem is implicitly given a solution that is as simple as it is tragic: there is no solution, but only, in the face of totalitarianism, a choice between submission and resistance—and thus war. If we want to get out of this dilemma, we need to make a philosophical effort that goes beyond mere history. I suggest that we call on (1) the idea of nature, and (2) Thomas Hobbes. We should also bear in mind the idea of original sin, or rather its absence in the Muslim religion.

We must do Brague justice and acknowledge that he reflects at length on the relationship between Islam and nature. He finds it difficult to establish a fully coherent position on this subject, perhaps because it does not exist in his object either? He rightly speaks several times of “natural religion” (pp. 35-36, 50). Islam is said to be a natural religion, indeed the natural religion par excellence, whose purpose is to make known and respected a divine law, which is, after all, natural, for the entire planet. Everyone is supposed to be born a Muslim. There is no better way to describe it than as a natural religion. Islam does not require belief in mysteries. There is nothing a priori implausible about its content. “Islam contains no commandments whose reasons are not accessible to the human mind” (p. 135). The Koran commands: “Fulfill the obligations of Religion as a true believer (hanīf) and according to the nature (fitra) that God has given to men in creating them” (Koran, XXX, 30). It could not be better said that the law centrally comprises the prescriptions of worship and the practice of natural law.

On the question of natural law, Brague exposes the opposing theses of those who say that the notion does not exist in Islam (Patricia Crone, p. 107) and those who say the opposite. He does not take a clear stand between the two. Man possesses a native orientation towards God. According to the hadith, “every child is born according to al-fitra” (quoted on p. 121). This is the first natural law.

It is hard to see how there can be no natural law in Islam, if it is a natural religion of law. This natural law is divine, that of the Creator of Nature, of course. It is true that Islam is afraid of associating Nature with God, as a kind of soul of the world. But it looks for reasons that justify the law socially. And it is precisely a law of peace, a social law. Man’s nature is that of a reasonable social animal. What is more, nature is defined by law and law by nature, so thinking about law cannot exclude nature. Brague himself writes that “adopting true religion consists in surrendering to the evidence of a submission already given from the outset in man’s ‘nature’” (p. 175).

God-Leviathan (the very good Leviathan) through His Prophet and through His Law puts an end to the state of nature and to war, which reigns wherever there is no Law (dār-al-harb) (p. 29). “Mohammed himself said he did not want to bring anything new, but only to remind humanity of what it should never have forgotten” (p. 50. Cf. Koran, XLI, 43; XLVI, 9). Islam presents itself as a return to the origin, to the Idea of Man in God.

Brague rightly notes that Westerners see Islam too much through the Christian lens, even when they do not believe in Christ. But it would be clearer if we understood that the difference between Islam and Christianity is that between a natural and a supernatural religion. There is something natural about Muslim revelation. Since a people cannot live without law, and tend to forget it, there must be prophets, just as there must be great captains, statesmen, doctors, poets and so on. According to Islam, divine revelation to a prophet resembles, Brague tells us, “the way in which, for Neoplatonism, the separate and transcendent Agent Intellect, which contains in act all possible knowledge, ‘pours itself out’… on a purely passive ‘material’ human intellect” (p. 62. Cf. Koran, CXII, 3-4). The Koran is not inspired. It is “dictated” (p. 66).

Brague asks how it is possible that humanity has forgotten its original religion. Islam hardly provides an answer. Forgetting the Law is an analogue of original sin, but is neither thematized nor conceptualized as original sin. Islam is therefore a natural religion without original sin. A theologically literate Christian knows that original sin consists less in an alteration of nature than in the loss of supernatural life. But he understands that because of the vocational elevation to the supernatural order, which is irrevocable but now frustrated, nature is much less functional and balanced after sin than before, and less than it would have been without this vocation, the trace of which remains and paradoxically leads to excess. That is why it is easy to think, in this logic, that the wood of which man is made is crooked, as Luther and Kant say, and that man is a being who must often be led by the rod. Which brings us to Hobbes.

And first of all, from a Hobbesian philosophical point of view, there is no doubt that Islam is “a religion of peace,” because it has a “Leviathan” structure, and because peace is precisely Leviathan’s work and function. The political ruler, the earthly Leviathan, is the image of the divine Leviathan. Leviathan’s function is to put an end to the “state of nature,” to the war of all against all, by repressing “natural rights,” i.e., the assertion of arbitrary individual desires, and by imposing, under threat of punishment, the respect and application of “natural law”, i.e., the law of peace. This function is accomplished first and foremost by disarming subjects, monopolizing force, and merging temporal and spiritual powers. Pacification is Leviathan’s work, and it can only be achieved through a kind of constituent war in which individuals and groups are subjected to sovereign authority.

The brutality of the process in no way excludes, in Hobbes’ eyes, that it is both reasonable and free, even contractual. Like the Hobbesian Leviathan, Islam is ambivalent (“L’ordre philosophique,” in Anoush Ganjipour, L’Ambivalence politique de l’islam, Pasteur ou Léviathan (Paris: Seuil, 2021). Because the terror inspired by the state of nature leads each person to express a demand for power and to promise to submit to an effective and moderate protector in exchange for renouncing the free use of his strength and the free determination of his desires. And the human demand for Power, natural and pathetic, is radicalized and metaphysically founded in a demand for absolute divine Power.

The brutality of the civilizational process does not exclude a certain humanity, piety and fraternity. “Remember… You were enemies and I reconciled your hearts and by my grace you are brothers” (Koran, III, 103).

Finally, the brutality of Leviathan’s peacemaking does not rule out a reasonable constitutionalization process. Leviathan will never be stably established unless it is clearly less frightening (caeteris paribus) than the “state of nature” it allows us to dispense with. Harvey Mansfield has convincingly shown that the modern liberal state is nothing other than “the tamed Prince,” a Machiavellian Prince who differs only slightly from the Hobbesian Leviathan.

First conclusion regarding Pope Francis’ words. A “religion of the Law” will by definition be a “religion of peace,” in the Hobbesian sense of the word, on condition that firstly, divine law is close enough to natural law (= the law of peace—on the perennial contribution of Hobbes to the theory of natural law, see my Préparer l’avenir, Nouvelle philosophie du décideur, pp. 85-116), which, by imposing stable, non-arbitrary obligations or duties, guarantees equally solid, non-arbitrary rights; and secondly, on condition that this law and, above all, its Divine Legislative Power, provide a solid foundation for the legitimacy of powers that are strong enough to ensure the application of this law, against the ever-reborn arbitrariness of individual “rights”—which, under liberal rhetoric, tend only to re-establish the state of nature and the right of the strongest, or even perversion.

We are very much mistaken in believing that it is possible to govern without coercion, i.e., without having the means to use force, and the material and moral possibility to do so if necessary. What is true, however, is that we freely accept constraints and even consent to war, if it seems to us to emanate from a legitimate power and in accordance with the principles of our culture, of our law. Nothing is more damaging to a society, or even to a civilization, than to be seriously mistaken on the subject of the fundamental law of peace.

Thus, when we say that Islam is a religion of war, we are mixing up two things that need to be dissociated. Either we are talking about a constitutive war, by which Power, at the tacit or explicit call of the people, imposes natural law and puts an end to the state of nature born of the claim of individuals or groups to impose so-called natural rights contrary to this law. This constitutive war cannot be blamed on any culture, provided it remains proportionate in the use of means, since without it there is no society. Alternatively, we are talking about a constituted war, between political bodies already internally pacified according to a cultural law respectful of natural law. It is certainly a defect, and more precisely a form of barbarism, if a religion constitutively drives a nation to war against others, except in cases of self-defense. It is therefore absurd to reproach Muslim civilization, like any other, for its constitutive war. Whether or not it is in essence a culture of constituted war is another question. Christianity is unquestionably a culture of peace, yet Christian kingdoms have waged wars on each other in abundance, and wars that could have been avoided with a little moderation and good arbitration. Internal wars between Muslims were no less numerous.

Similarly, the use of violence in war is something normal, or at least inevitable, by definition. And the assessment of “violence” in the use of force is quite subjective. We judge more by sensitivity than by reason. For example, in today’s West, people will be moved to the very top of the state if a non-commissioned officer summarily executes a prisoner during an operation, even if the prisoner is a known criminal (See the Firmin Mahé case of 2005). But the fact that the nation’s security depends on the massive hostage-taking that nuclear deterrence represents seems to trouble no one.

Modern or postmodern Western culture claims to be liberal, in the sense that it puts “freedom-first,” and believes this to be a guaranteed recipe for universal peace. This is a complete illusion. Freedom-first means selfishness and war. Maintaining freedom of action is the first principle of war (Ferdinand Foch, Les Principes de la guerre. Conférences faites à l’École supérieure de guerre). To act well is to do one’s duty, obey, commit, bind, promise and fulfill. It means alienating one’s freedom of action, of course, in order to acquire greater power, dignity, happiness and even a better freedom—a freedom of peace and good, not a freedom of war. To criticize Islam (and also Christianity) in the name of freedom in the first place is to unwittingly praise them, rather than to reproach them justly. The religion of “freedom-first” is a religion of war. It has no lessons to teach anyone.

In saying this, we are not forgetting all that Brague has reminded us (cf. the Appendix below). Our author quotes Malek Bennabi, who, speaking of Islam, speaks of “blissful pride,” of “complacency concerning their religion” (p. 46), as if there were no other functional cultures on earth providing other civilizations with a tolerable approximation to the natural law of peace; yet it is quite clear that Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, among others, and also modern Western humanism in its idealist, Kantian version, are also capable of providing the cultural foundation for the law of peace and legitimate powers. To say this is not to equate all religions, wisdoms or cultures with general relativism. But we must admit the validity of a certain relativism, if by this we mean only that a decent civil peace can be brought about by various cultural means—by various metaphysical interpretations of the law of peace and by various sufficient approximations of its authentic content. This is why the idea that outside Islam there would only be chaos and war, is simply an error of fact, which any other culture would share if it shared the same idea.

Those in the Church who are concerned about the utopian pacifism of a pope unfit for politics might wonder. On the contrary, would not the Pope be diabolically skilled in politics? Would not these words be the very type of the “kiss that kills?” Francis tells Muslim leaders: “Islam is a religion of peace.” How will these leaders respond? Are they going to say: “No, not at all. We are a religion of war. We want to conquer you, make you submit and then convert you through discrimination (just read Rémi Brague’s Sur l’islam)?” Or will they say on the contrary: “Yes, of course, we are a religion of peace.” In the first response, Islam makes itself odious to everyone and what will become of it, if there is war, because today it is technology which largely determines the balance of power (but not only)? In the second response, a Muslim leader is very embarrassed, because he knows perfectly well about everything that Brague reminded us of and he wonders how he can, without ceasing to be Muslim, become a religion of peace, because that is what he would like to be, not out of opportunism, or Western intoxication, but out of religion. But why exactly does he want it by religion?

Averroes can help us find the answer. He says that in certain circumstances, peace is preferable to war (p. 210). But what circumstances are we living in now? We live in the atomic age. Can atomic war be a holy war? Against whom? Against a demonic power, perhaps. But against countries structured by a decent culture, peaceful and respectful, whose only fault is that they are not Muslims? Thus, there is nothing to stop us thinking—indeed, there is every reason to believe—that the circumstances of a technically developed, globalized world capable of total self-destruction render the idea of holy war obsolete. Not because the principles of Islam have changed, but because once a certain historical inflection point has been reached, situations require a different application of the same principles.

The same conclusion can be drawn from the evolution of the Western culture that still dominates the world. The content of its moral and political thought has completely drifted. The Western Leviathan not only claims to be universal, but has completely lost the idea of natural law. Liberalism returns to the state of nature, to the benefit of the great predators. Natural rights are characterized by blasphemy and the monstrous transgression of every natural law. Western Leviathan claims to be universal, and defines itself as absolute power without natural law and against natural law. This Leviathan is infinitely worse than the state of nature, worse than all pagans, worse than all associates. From now on, for the foreseeable duration of history, it constitutes the first of all dangers. If there is still to be a holy war, it will be against it.

But in the face of this common enemy, there is no chance of success without a lasting and even perpetual alliance with other wisdoms and religions. For it is clear that Leviathan is playing politics of the worst kind. Manipulating extremists, it pushes for religious wars everywhere, capitalizing on these conflicts by presenting itself as the only factor for peace. Then, by creating guilt in religions because of these wars, it pushes them to submit to Leviathan’s relativism, to become insignificant, to dissolve into its culture of impotence. But no alliance is possible on the basis of discrimination and the will to conquer, however patiently. If religion’s mortal enemy is the universal Leviathan, and if this universal Leviathan can hardly fail to be a monster, can religion still retain a kind of ambition that would see it bidding for the post of world Leviathan?

The survival of religion is therefore conditional on the suspension of norms, the non-suspension of which would mean the death of religion, pure and simple. If the Book is eternal, it dominates all history, and it would obviously be false if it were to assert that history cannot be what it obviously is. Thus, necessarily, the principle of abrogation must be understood as a principle of suspension, reversible, conditioned to what the interest of religion requires according to circumstances. It seems that this understanding is not contrary to tradition, since if we suppose that the four schools of jurisprudence had had access to knowledge of present situations, their decision would have been, without a doubt, that the more severe and bellicose norms, which Brague has explained to us in detail, would only be valid until the time when, to ensure the good of religion in another way, they would have to be abrogated, i.e., suspend the suspension of the more tolerant and peaceful norms. Frankly, the eternity and inerrancy of the Holy Book are far better guaranteed by a pair of norms that can be valid alternately for the entire duration of time, than by the truly incomprehensible enigma of an eternal Book, some parts of which would be eternally annulled by others, even though they had previously been solemnly enacted.

Natural law has a right to impose itself universally by constituent war, wherever either the state of nature or barbarism reigns. The postmodern Western universal Leviathan is the synthesis of the state of nature and barbarism. And without the union of all civilized people, this abomination has every chance of prevailing, in this century or the next. Under these conditions, it is surely unreasonable to think of using constituent warfare against reasonably constituted peoples and civilizations, as if they were still in a state of nature or barbarism from which only sharia law could remove them.

This is why, if one assumes not even genius, but solid common sense and a good level of political intelligence in Muslim leaders, Pope Francis’ statement no longer comes as a surprise, although it remains disturbing for the historian and disturbing for habits of thought.

Finally, let us note that Brague methodologically accepts the traditional Muslim account of the origins of Islam, without questioning it—thus neatly sidestepping the mountains of discussion that have arisen on the subject over decades of academic work. Perhaps our author is right to skip the discussion of the origins narrative, which would require a whole volume in its own right, but it has to be said that if we accept this traditional narrative, then Brague’s “totalitarian” reading of Islam is almost inevitable. Some will accept it without batting an eyelid as normal, others will reject it indignantly as atrocious. On the other hand, if we were to allow even a modicum of uncertainty about its origins, the situation would be less deadlocked. This too will determine the future. For Muslim leaders are well aware that their apologetic case has been weakened. The Pope knows it too. The Western media say very little about it, and that is strategic. Only a blocked Islam can be used as a scarecrow and a backlash alliance against all the hegemon’s potential rivals. Viewed historically, à la Brague, Islam is a block and peace with it seems impossible. But considered historically, à la Crone, or à la Gallez (without the devastating criticisms of Strauss or Renan, Christianity would never have thought of exploring, and that successfully, the historical credibility of its own sources), Islam is a natural religion, with a natural history, and this might not prevent it from considering itself the true natural religion, especially if it is clear to all those responsible that the strategies required in the 21st century are no longer those that worked until the 17th century. And the relationship between this natural religion and supernatural religion might also be seen in a new light.

Appendix. Summary of Brague’s Argument in Sur l’islam

The Prophet Mohammed is the “beautiful example” (Koran, XXXIII, 21). Yet it is certain that, if we are to believe Muslim tradition and, more generally, the account of the origins of Islam, Muhammad used violence extensively. He never stopped waging war. He had opponents of both sexes murdered (see the assassination of Asma b. Marwan, p. 166). He had prisoners beheaded by the hundreds. He had a prisoner tortured to make him confess to the location of a treasure (p. 57). Precise references to the most authoritative ancient biographies of Muhammad, (p. 283-284). He promised paradise to a warrior who brought him his own father’s head (this was Abu Ubayda ibn al-Garrah; allusion to the fact in the Koran, LVIII, 22). Brague points out, mercilessly, that “official biographers recount them [this violence] without batting an eyelid, with hagiographic intent” (p. 94). It is obvious, then, that certain forms of violence can always be legitimized by the example of Mohammed, unless we relativize his “example,” and perhaps (perhaps? or not?) depart from a maximal orthodoxy. The leading Muslim thinker, perfectly orthodox, Al-Ghazali, puts it this way: “What Allah does not repress with the Koran, he represses with power” (p. 216).

Life in Islam is a war for faith (Koran, III, 28; XVI, 106). The Hadiths tell us that Mohammed said: “I was ordered to fight people until they testify” (p. 173). The meaning of the word “jihad” is primarily war. “Medieval scholars seem to have agreed on the need for an offensive jihad” (p. 206, plus note 27, p. 312. Brague here honestly points out the limitation of this judgment to the wars of Mohammed’s time). In war, one must give one’s all: Khalid ibn al-Walid admires his troops “more eager for death than you are for life” (p. 195). The Koran approves of this self-sacrifice: “Return to your Creator and kill yourselves, etc.” (in the suicide operations of war, Koran, II, 54). When we say nowadays: “Yes, but those were the Middle Ages,” we forget that those centuries we call the “Middle Ages” were the most brilliant period of Muslim civilization, its golden age. Brague continues: the distinction between the great jihad (the ascetic struggle) and the lesser jihad (the holy war), so often made by Islamophiles, comes from a hadith that is not found in any of the four great authorized collections (p. 200). Cunning, the second most common means of warfare, is as legitimate as violence. The moral law permits lying to enemies: taqiyya (p. 133-134).

Conversion by discussion and persuasion is rather exceptional. If one relied on it above all, it would be the end of religion (p. 143). The vast majority of people are incapable of reasoning, and the only way to moralize them is to subdue them by force, after which they will gradually change their minds and willingly accept what they first accepted by coercion or, hypocritically, by calculation. Historical evidence shows that there is no distinction on the question of violence between “jurists” and “mystics” (Sufis). What is more, Sufism only gained recognition thanks to Al-Ghazali, for whom mysticism, far from opposing legalism, presupposes it and tends to make it acceptable (p. 100-101).

Finally, Sufism has always remained marginal, suspect in the eyes of orthodox Islam. The greatest Muslim thinkers, such as Al-Ghazali or Ibn Khaldun, write coldly that Islam must be accepted willingly or by force (p. 162. Ibn Khaldun, Prolegomena, III, 31: “Holy war is a religious duty, because Islam has a universal mission and all men must convert to it willingly or by force”). The violence of the founder continues in the violence of conquest. Brague recalls the Koran’s “sword verse”: “Shame those who disbelieve… until they pay capitation after humiliating themselves” (p. 51; Koran, IX, 5; IX, 29).

The establishment of a Muslim state was the only way to secure the faith of believers. However, “the aim of holy war is not to convert infidels to Islam, but to subjugate them to it,” our author reminds us, quoting Vladimir Soloviev (p. 174). Conversion, on the other hand, results from the systematic use of pressure tactics, essentially discriminatory taxation. Only if they submit and pay the capitation tax in a situation of humiliation, “making themselves small” (Koran, IX, 29), do dhimmis have the right to escape death. “They must experience this mark of debasement in person, for perhaps they will end up believing in God and his prophet, and then they will be delivered from this ignominious yoke” (p. 181; see also pages 179-181). Brague quotes at length the Baghdadi Jew Ibn Kammuna, speaking during a time of non-Muslim Mongol rule, and liquidated a few years later: “We do not see anyone to this day entering Islam except because he is afraid, etc.” (p. 219; and on the same subject, p. 191. And also the question, “What to do with the recalcitrant?”, p. 204).

It is impossible to dissociate God from Mohammed, or from his followers, for, Brague reminds us, the Koran depicts God as hating all those who do not accept his message or quibble about his signs (p. 18; Koran, XL, 10 and 35 and XXXV, 39). Especially “associators” (associators are nothing but impurity and “defilement”, Koran, IX, 28 and IX, 95). Brague also quotes the Koran: “The skin of the damned once burned will grow back so that it can burn again” (Koran, IV, 56; Brague notes that some thinkers allegorize this passage).

Henri Hude is the former director of the Ethics and Law Department at the Research Center of the Saint-Cyr Military Academy. He is the author of several important works of philosophy, most recently, A Philosophy of War. The French version of this review appeared in the Revue thomiste.

Featured: Muhammad leading Abraham, Moses and Jesus in prayer. BNF Supplément turc 190 f. 9v (detail); Persian, ca. 1436.

The Slave Trade: An Islamic Invention?

As Fernand Braudel wrote in his History of Civilizations, the large-scale commercial organization we call “the slave trade” is not a “diabolical invention of Europe,” but began in the 8th century AD with the Muslim conquest. Knowledge and appreciation of the subject is hampered by the clichés and stereotypes that surround it, as well as the lack of press coverage of even the most accessible academic works (such as Tidiane N’Diaye’s Le génocide voilé; or Jacques Heers’ Les négriers en terre d’islam. But it is also because the spirit of the times dictates that we should not upset our Muslim brothers by evoking the misdeeds of a religion that is presented to us as a hotbed of peace and tolerance. The thirteen centuries of the Eurasian slave trade resolutely belie this mythology.

The large-scale trade in men, women and children known as the “slave trade” was organized in and by the “chronological and geographical melting pot” that was Islam from the 8th to the 11th century. This traffic of shame was inaugurated in 652, when the Emir and general, Abd Allah ibn Sa’d, concluded an agreement with the Nubians, imposing the annual forced delivery of hundreds of slaves, the majority of whom were taken from the populations of Darfur.

The trade only ceased long after that: even when the caliphate disappeared and differentiated Islamic worlds emerge, not yet Muslim “nations,” if such things were even possible. It was only in the 20th century, some one hundred and fifty years after the Westerners (who took their time to put a stop to this infamy) that the Muslim world officially closed the great roads of blood, death, castration and humiliation.

In the Middle Ages, the economy of Muslim countries was based on the power demanded of slave muscles in the mines and plantations. And there was also domestic slavery: a whole middle class consumed this domesticity, which could be cut and chopped at will, as well as the women and eunuchs of the harem (tradition claims that the harem of the Caliph Abder-Rahman III in Cordoba included 3,600 women), servants, singers and musicians in the palaces of potentates and great personages.

The slave trade developed along two main axes: firstly, the trans-Saharan trade (or slave trade), which took captives from the Sudan to the Maghreb, across the Sahara; and secondly, the maritime trade, which took them from the east coast of Africa to the Orient via a variety of routes described by Maurice Lombard (L’islam dans sa première grandeur) with precise, well-documented cartography. The Oriental slave trade involved a large reservoir of people who came to be known as “the Slavs,” from which the word “slave” derives.

In France, work on the Muslim slave trade is only half a century old, and has met with much resistance. What first attracted the attention of French researchers and scholars was Sudanese gold, because all Arab authors referred to it as “the main product of black countries.” They conveniently forget the other traffic: that of human beings. Émile Félix Gautier, an ethnographer specializing in Algeria, the Sahara and Madagascar, set off the frenzy in 1935. He had sensed that the author of Hanno the Navigator’s journey (between the 5th century BC and the 1st century AD), a Carthaginian suffete, had undertaken his expedition to secure for Carthage the gold powder long known to the Lybio-Phoenicians. The introduction of the camel to the Sahara under the emperor Septimius-Severus (146-211), born in one of those Punic cities, anxious to preserve its links with Black Africa, had made it possible to conquer the desert and trade with this almost legendary Sudan. However, the Romans failed to understand the value of Carthaginian positions and trans-Saharan trade relations and traditions, which would have faded into oblivion had it not been for the fact that the Punic cities of Africa, encompassed within the orbis romanus, had maintained them through the intermediary of Berber caravan tribes.

Once Islamized, other human reservoirs would have to be found, as the Koran forbids the enslavement of Muslims (a precept that was hardly ever applied). These Berbers were to make use of the Saharan trails, restoring the ancient gold trade to its former glory and, above all, developing the trade in blacks from the Sudan and sub-Saharan Africa.

But they were not alone in the large-scale organization of this monstrous traffic. By the 8th century, the formation of the Muslim world had created an immense domain in relation to “a kind of common market” from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean, from the Sudan to the barbarian West and the region of the great Russian rivers. This ensemble was built on three previous domains: the Sassanid Empire, Byzantine Syria and Egypt, and the barbaric Western Mediterranean. This “common market” was characterized by an influx of gold, a large supply of slaves (Turks, Africans and Slavs), and a network of major trade routes stretching from China to Spain and from Black Africa to Central Asia. This network covered the whole of Eurasia, but was also subject to unstable junctions, linked in particular to conflicts between the great empire-states (such as Byzantium and Persia).

In the ancestral lands of ancient civilizations—Iran, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt—there was no gap between the Byzantine-Sassanid period and the Muslim era in terms of urban occupation, workshops or arts and techniques, because the economic frameworks were already in place on the eve of the Muslim conquest. The East was home to all the driving forces and dispersal centers from which the various influences associated with the new conquerors would spread westwards: Islamization, Arabization, Semitization and, above all, Iranization. It was Persia, heir through Islam to the ancient Mesopotamian home, that provided the conquerors with the mental frameworks and techniques, as well as the repertoire of ideas and artistic forms, with which to assert themselves.

But throughout the Muslim world, big business was to fall to Jewish merchants.

The first exile under Nebuchadnezzar had created a scattering and chains of Jewish communities, settled along all the major trade routes, which corresponded with the lines of Judaization. From Sassanid Mesopotamia, these religious and commercial routes reached Armenia, the Caucasus and Caspian countries, the land of the Khazars (lower Volga and Ponto-Caspian steppes), Iran, Khorasan, Khwarazm and Transoxania, and finally the Persian Gulf and India (Malabar coast). It was with these communities that, very early on in history, a class of merchants and craftsmen emerged, faithful to the trading spirit and old technical and mercantile methods of the Semitic East. In some places, these communities were more numerous and more active. But these nuclei of Judaism were not always well connected, due to the split between the barbarian (then Christian) West, the Byzantine area and the Sassanid domain. Rabbinism, which became official within the Muslim domain, welded the nuclei of Judaism, from East to West: rabbinic centralization and commercial relations, deriving from the driving forces of Abbasid Mesopotamia, went hand in hand. These relationships continued beyond the confines of the Muslim world, through links with the distant communities of Eurasia.

Until the Muslim era, Christian Syrians (Syrians and Persians above all) had been the masters of East/West trade. Their trade was also based on a chain of Nestorian and Jacobin communities. Eliminated from the maritime domain, they retained their importance in continental relations in Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Iran, Armenia and Central Asia, with monasteries and places of pilgrimage playing an economic role.

At all frontiers of the Muslim world, a large part of trade was thus in the hands of the Jews and their trading houses, including the slave trade and all related activities: eunuch manufacture, slave instruction and education, currency trading and banking. The most beautiful women were channeled into the harems: abducted at a very young age, they received extensive training, particularly in music and psalmody, but not only. A few towns, including Verdun, specialized in the castration of male children and men. The fact that it was mainly carried out by Jews was due to their reputation for medical knowledge based on old Greek medicine, enriched by contributions from the Iranian and Indian schools. Nestorian “polymaths” (physicians and scholars) played a central role in the “translation sciendi” of ancient knowledge to the new Arabized world. Dual medical and philosophical knowledge (the works of Aristotle in particular) followed the same circuit. From Greece to Syria, it was translated into Syriac, Aramaic and Arabic, then transplanted to the major centers of Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba, where Spanish Jews translated it into Latin. From there, they reached the centers of the Christian West, particularly Toledo.

The Arabian conquerors transformed this tribal Islam into a caliphal Islam: a political system of widespread domination and plunder. Not only did they seize the gold of the vanquished (treasures of the Sassanid rulers, Syrian and Egyptian churches, systematic excavations of the Pharaohs’ tombs), they also appropriated the knowledge of these ancient Aramaic-speaking sedentary civilizations, or what remained of them after the first devastating period of conquest. And it was at the junction of East and West, in the old land of Spain, that these “matrix” civilizations would cast their last fires.

Al-Andalus was not the brilliant civilization celebrated in today’s fifth-grade French history textbooks. It is the swan song of this great Christianized civilization which, having taken on Greek and Indian knowledge, transmitted it in the language of the conquerors before disappearing into the sands of the desert and history.

In the Islamized East, a few Christian communities still survive, heroically maintaining the oral structures through which faith and the Gospel have been passed down through the vicissitudes of the centuries and the continual persecutions of Islam.

Marion Duvauchel is a historian of religions and holds a PhD in philosophy. She has published widely, and has taught in various places, including France, Morocco, Qatar, and Cambodia. She is the founder of the Pteah Barang, in Cambodia.

Featured: Slaves in Zabid, Yemen, folio 105, Maqama 34, by Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti, Baghdad, ca. 1236-1237.

Religions and Wisdoms are the First Guarantee of Freedom and Peace

A former student at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure, Henri Hude was Professor of Philosophy at the French Saint-Cyr Military Academy. (Saint-Cyr). His latest book, A Philosophy of War, is a call for religions to take a philosophical and spiritual leap forward in building peace for the world of tomorrow.

[This interview was conducted by Omnes Magazine, through whose kind generosity we are able to bring you this English version].

Omnes Magazine (OM): Faced with the risk of total war, can we sum up your approach in your latest book, A Philosophy of War, by saying that religions are the solution, not the problem, to achieving universal peace?

Henri Hude (HH): Total war requires the use of all available means. Today, it would lead to the destruction of the human race, thanks to technical progress. The terrifying possibility of such destruction gives rise to the project of eliminating war as a condition for the survival of humankind. But war is a duel between several powers. So, to eliminate war radically, there is the need to institute a single World Power, a universal Leviathan, endowed with unlimited power.

Henri Hude.

But plurality can always be reborn: through secession, revolution, mafias, terrorism and so on. To make the world safe, there is the call to destroy all powers other than that of the Leviathan. Not only must we put an end to the plurality of political and social powers, but we must also destroy all other powers: spiritual, intellectual and moral. We are far beyond a simple project of universal imperialism. It is about supermen dominating subhumans. This Orwellian-Nazi project is so monstrous that it has a paradoxical consequence. The universal Leviathan becomes common enemy number 1 of all nations, religions and wisdoms. Previously, these were often at war or in tension. Now, thanks to the Leviathan, they are allies, friends, perhaps. The Leviathan is incapable of guaranteeing peace, but his monstrosity, now forever a permanent possibility, guarantees the lasting alliance of former enemies. Religions and wisdoms are the primary guarantee of freedom and peace. This is another world.

OM: The Holy See’s diplomacy seeks to establish a solid dialogue with Islam in order to build “bridges.” In recent history, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran worked to this end by visiting Saudi Arabia, a first for a Holy See diplomat of such rank. In 2019, the emblematic meeting between Pope Francis and Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Imam of the Al-Azhar mosque, the most important Sunni institution in the Middle East, also marked a further step in this rapprochement (not to mention the successive trip to Bahrain). Do you think this diplomatic policy is a step in the right direction?

HH: I think so, because it is part of this logic of peace through an anti-Leviathan alliance. For who is the Leviathan? Certainly, to become the Leviathan is forever the temptation of every power in this world. The Leviathan is therefore first and foremost a fundamental concept of political science. But it also has a terrible application in the political and cultural choices made by Western elites, especially Anglo-Saxon ones. The Woke is a machine for manufacturing sub-humans. Democracy is transformed into plutocracy, freedom of the press into propaganda, the economy into a casino, the liberal state into a police state, and so on. Such imperialism is both odious and dysfunctional. It has no chance of success, except in the old, more controlled Western countries—and even then… The Pope is right to prepare for the future.

As far as Muslims in particular are concerned, the Leviathan’s strategy is to push the most violent and sectarian everywhere, who are its useful idiots, or its stipendiary agents, in order to divide and rule. Muslim religious leaders, who are as intelligent as the Pope, know this very well. Political leaders know it, too. See how they are taking advantage of NATO’s failures in Ukraine to take their freedom from the Leviathan. It is not at all a question of creating a single syncretic religion, because cheap relativism is the first principle of the sub-human culture that the Leviathan wants to inject into everyone in order to dominate everything dictatorially. It is all about finding a modus vivendi. It is about friendship and friendly conversation between people who are sincerely seeking God, not pseudo “interfaith dialogue” between modernist, relativist clerics or intellectual laymen, guilt-ridden to the hilt by the Leviathan.

OM: In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, do the links between the Patriarch of Moscow and the authorities, or similar links in Ukraine and internal religions, make it almost impossible for religions to join forces to build peace?

HH: If you want to criticize others, you have to start by putting your own house in order. We might ask ourselves, for example, if we French Catholics do not have an ambiguous relationship with political power. In the face of Woke dogmatism, the canonization of the culture of death, invasive authoritarianism, servility to the Leviathan, the march to world war, we remain as if KO standing. Manipulated and/or careerist, we sometimes wade into guilt, asking forgiveness for existing in the public sphere.

If the Woke culture were to be universally imposed, it would be the loss of all souls and the end of all decent civilization. Resistance to the imposition of Woke culture can be a just cause of war. That is what the whole world thinks, except the West, and that is why Western soft power is evaporating so fast. This is without prejudice to the justice due to Ukraine and charity among Catholics.

OM: Is violence inherent to Islam?

HH: I would like to ask you, is cowardice inherent to Christianity? Christ said he had not come to bring peace on earth, but division. He also said that he spewed out the lukewarm. In many a Sunday sermon, there would be nothing to change if we replaced the word “God” with “Teddy Bear.”

In his book, Ecumenical Jihad, Peter Kreeft (pp. 41-42) writes: “…it took a Muslim student in my class at Boston College to berate the Catholics for taking down their crucifixes. ‘We don’t have images of that man, as you do,’ he said, ‘but if we did, we would never take them down, even if someone tried to force us to. We revere that man, and we would die for his honor. But you are so ashamed of him that you take him down from your walls. You are more afraid of what his enemies might think if you kept your crucifixes up than of what he might think if you took them down. So I think we are better Christians than you are.’”

We call blushing for Christ respect for freedom. We believe we have opened up to the world, when in fact we have abdicated all evangelical freedom. We believe we are superior to our elders, when all we are doing is participating in this lamentable evolution, which Solzhenitsyn called the “decline of courage.” To be a Christian, you must first not be a sub-human. And in order not to be sub-human, you have to be capable of resisting the Leviathan. If need be, by spilling his blood. Bismarck put thirty bishops in prison, and in the end had to abandon the Kulturkampf.

OM: Ten years ago, Pope Francis said: “True Islam and a proper interpretation of the Koran are opposed to all violence.” This phrase continues to provoke debate and divide Islamologists and theologians. What did Francis mean?

HH: I do not know what the Pope meant. The expressions “true Islam” and “proper interpretation” pose formidable problems, so the phrase can take on very different meanings. In the absence of precision, there is no way of knowing. The philosopher Rémi Brague, who knows the subject admirably, has just written a book entitled, Sur l’Islam, in which he displays a truly confounding erudition. He believes he must interpret the sentence as if the Pope were speaking as a historian of ideas. He proves that, if this were the case, this assertion would be wrong. But I do not think the Pope is speaking as a historian of ideas. (In any case, these are subjects to which the Petrine charism of infallibility does not apply).

OM: Should we understand the Pope’s statement as primarily political, confronting Muslim authorities with their contradictions and responsibilities, and inviting them to join him in building a world of peace?

HH: The Pope is no more Machiavellian than he is ignorant. In truth, we need to distinguish between force and violence. Violence is the illegitimate use of force. All the great religions and wisdoms are opposed to all violence, but none is opposed to all use of force. Every society has the right to self-defense. If the use of armed force were morally forbidden to any society in all circumstances, it would be morally obligatory to endure any aggression, by anyone, for any purpose. In other words, it would be morally obligatory to obey even those perverts who would destroy every moral principle. Societies therefore have a right, and sometimes a duty, to self-defense, armed if necessary. Some abusers understand no language but force. So, you draw a red line on the ground in front of them. “This line means that I would rather risk my life and suffer than undergo what you want to impose on me. If, therefore, you transgress this line, you will have to risk your life and suffer.” If you are incapable of this behavior, you are good for slavery.

Featured: The Return of the Crusader, by Karl Friedrich Lessing; painted in 1835.

Eschatologies of a Multipolar World

BRICS: The Creation of Multipolarity

XV BRICS Summit: The Multipolar World is Established

The XV BRICS summit made a historic decision to admit six more countries to the organization—Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Thus, in fact, the formation of the core of the multipolar world was completed.

Although BRICS, formerly BRIC, was a conditional association of semi-peripheral (according to Wallerstein) or “second world” countries, the dialogue between these countries, which are not part of the structure of the collective West (NATO and other rigidly unipolar organizations dominated by the United States), gradually outlined the contours of an alternative world order. If the Western civilization considers itself to be the only one, and this is the essence of globalism and unipolarity, the BRICS countries represented sovereign and independent civilizations, different from the Western one, with a long history and a completely original system of traditional values.

Initially, the BRIC association, created in 2006 at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, included four countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China. Brazil, the largest power in South America, represented the Latin American continent. Russia, China and India are of sufficient scale on their own to be considered civilizations. But they also represent more than nation-states. Russia is the vanguard of Eurasia, the Eurasian “Greater Space.” China is responsible for a significant area of the contiguous powers of Indochina. India also extends its influence beyond its borders—at least to Bangladesh and Nepal.

When South Africa joined the BRIC countries in 2011 (hence the acronym BRICS—the “S” at the end of South Africa), the continent was symbolically represented as the largest African country.

7 Civilizations (1 vs. 6)

At the XV summit, held from August 22 to 24, 2023 in Johannesburg, the final formation of the multipolar club took place. The entry of three Islamic powers—Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and the UAE—was fundamental. Thus, the direct participation in the multipolar world of the entire Islamic civilization, represented by both branches—Sunnism and Shiism—was secured. In addition, along with Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Spanish-speaking Argentina, another strong and independent power, joined BRICS. Back in the mid-twentieth century, theorists of South American unification into a consolidated large space—above all Argentine general Juan Perón and Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas—considered a decisive rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina to be the first step in this process. If this were achieved, the process of integration of the Latin American ecumene would be irreversible. And this is exactly what has happened now in the context of the accession of the two major powers of South America, Brazil and Argentina, to the multipolar club.

Ethiopia’s acceptance is also highly symbolic. It is the only African country that has remained independent throughout the colonial era, preserving its sovereignty, its independence and its unique culture (Ethiopians are the oldest Christian people). Combined with South Africa, Ethiopia is strengthening its presence in the multipolar club of the African continent.

In fact, in the new composition of BRICS, we get a complete model of unification of all poles—civilizations, large spaces, except for the West, which is desperate to preserve its hegemony and unipolar structure. But now it faces not disparate and fragmented countries full of internal and external contradictions, but a united force of the majority of humanity, determined to build a multipolar world.

This multipolar world consists of the following civilizations:

  1. The West (USA+EU and their vassals, which includes, alas, the once proud and distinctive Japan);
  2. China (+Taiwan) with its satellites;
  3. Russia (as an integrator of the entire Eurasian space);
  4. India and its zone of influence;
  5. Latin America (with Brazil + Argentina at its core);
  6. Africa (South Africa + Ethiopia, with Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, etc., emerging from French colonial influence).
  7. Islamic world (in both versions—Shiite Iran, and Sunni Saudi Arabia and UAE).

At the same time, one civilization—the Western one—claims hegemony, while the six others deny it this right, accepting only a multipolar system and recognizing the West only as one of the civilizations, along with others.

Thus, the rightness of Samuel Huntington, who saw the future in the return of civilizations, was confirmed in practice, while the fallacy of Fukuyama’s thesis, who believed that the global hegemony of the liberal West (the end of history) has already been achieved, became obvious. Therefore, Fukuyama can only doomedly lecture Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the last hope of globalists to stop the onset of multipolarity, for which Russia, in Ukraine, is fighting today.

August 2023 can be considered the birthday of the multipolar world.

Having outlined multipolarity, it is time to take a closer look at how the civilizational poles themselves interpret the situation in which they find themselves. And here we should take into account that virtually every sovereign civilization has its own idea of the structure of history, the nature of historical time, its direction and the end of history. Contrary to Fukuyama, who ambitiously proclaimed a single end of history (in his liberal version), each sovereign civilization operates with its own understanding, interpretation and description of the end of history. Let us briefly review this situation.

Each Civilization has its own Idea of the End of the World

Each pole of the multipolar world, that is, each civilization, has its own version of eschatology, somewhere more and somewhere less explicit.

“Eschatology” is the doctrine of the end of the world or the end of history. Eschatologies form a significant part of religious doctrines, but have secular versions as well. Any idea of the linear direction of the historical process and its supposed finale can be considered an “eschatology.”

The multipolar world consists of several civilizations or “big spaces” with a completely unique and original system of traditional values. This is the pole (not the individual state). A pole is precisely a civilization. Each civilization has its own idea of the nature of the historical process, its direction and its goal, and thus its own eschatology.

In some “large spaces” there are even several versions of eschatology, and a number of relatively small political formations, which cannot claim the pole in any way, nevertheless sometimes have a special and even developed eschatology.

Let us outline the different types in the most general terms.

Eschatologies of the West

Eschatology in Western Christianity

Western Christianity originally had the same eschatological doctrine as Eastern Christianity, being one. In Christianity—in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy (and even Protestantism)—the end of the world is considered inevitable, since the world and its history are finite and God is infinite. After the coming of Christ, the world moves toward its end, and the return of Christ itself is seen as taking place “in the last days.” The entire history of the Christian Church is a preparation for the end times, the Last Judgment, and the Second Coming of Christ. Christianity teaches that before the Second Coming there will be a general apostasy in mankind, nations will turn away from Christ and His Church, and will rely only on their own strength (humanism). Later, mankind will degenerate completely and the Antichrist, the messenger of the Devil, the “son of perdition” will seize power.

The Antichrist will rule for a short time—3.5 years, “a time, two times and half a time”), the saints and the prophets Elijah and Enoch, who will have returned to earth, will denounce him, and then the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment will take place. This is what every Christian is obliged to believe.

At the same time, Catholicism, which gradually separated from the united Orthodox trunk, believed that the stronghold of Christians should be the Catholic Church under the Pope, the “City of God,” and the retreat would affect only earthly political entities, the “City of Earth.” There is a spiritual battle between the heavenly politics of the Vatican and the earthly politics of secular monarchs. In Orthodoxy, unlike Catholicism, the main obstacle in the way of the Antichrist is the Holy Empire, eternal Rome.

Traditional Christian eschatology and exactly this—partly pessimistic—view of the vector of history prevailed in Europe until the beginning of the New Age. And this is how traditional Catholics, unaffected by the spirit of modernity, who are becoming fewer and fewer in the West, continue to think about the end of the world.

Protestant eschatologies are more bizarre. In the Anabaptists of Münster or the Czech Hussites, the Second Coming was preceded by the establishment of universal equality (eschatological communism), the abolition of class hierarchies and private property.

Recently, under the influence of modernization and political correctness, many Protestant denominations and the Anglican Church have revised their view of eschatology, finally breaking with the ancient Christian tradition.
Masonic Eschatology: The Theory of Progress

At the origins of the Western European civilization of Modernity is European Freemasonry, in the midst of which the idea of “social progress” was born. The idea of progress is a direct antithesis of the Christian understanding of history; it rejects apostasy, the Antichrist, the Last Judgment, the resurrection of the dead and the very existence of the soul.

Masons believed that humanity develops progressively: in the beginning savagery (not earthly paradise), then barbarism (not traditional society), then civilization (culminating in the European New Age and the Enlightenment, i.e., secular atheistic societies, based on a materialistic scientific worldview). Civilization in its formation passes a number of stages from traditional confessions to the humanistic cult of the Great Architect of the Universe and further to liberal democracy, where science, atheism and materialism will fully triumph. And conservative Freemasonry (Scottish Rite) stopped usually with the cult of the Great Architect of the Universe (that is, with deism—the recognition of an undefined non-denominational “god”), and the more revolutionary, the Grand Orient rite was called to go further—to the complete abolition of religion and social hierarchy. The Scottish Rite stands for classical liberalism (big capital), the Grand Orient and other revolutionary lodges stand for liberal democracy (intensive growth of the middle class and redistribution of capital from the big bourgeoisie to the middle and small bourgeoisie).

But in Freemasonry, in both versions, we see a clearly directed vector to the end of history; that is, to the construction of modern progressive global civilization. This is the ideology of globalism in two versions—conservative (gradual) and offensive (revolutionary-democratic).

England: The Fifth Monarchy

During Cromwell’s English Revolution, the theory of the Fifth Monarchy developed in Protestant circles under the influence of Jewish circles and Sabbataism (notably the Dutch Rabbi Manasseh ben-Israel). The traditional Christian doctrine of the Four World Kingdoms (Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman) was declared insufficient, and after the fall of Rome (which for Protestants meant the refusal to recognize the authority of the Pope and the overthrow of the monarchy, regicide) the Fifth Kingdom was to come. Earlier, a similar idea had arisen in Portugal in relation to the maritime Portuguese Empire and the special mission of the “vanished King” Sebastian. The Portuguese and Portuguese-centered (mystical-monarchical) version was passed on to the Portuguese Jewish converts (Marranos) and Jews exiled to Holland and Brazil. One of them was Manasseh ben-Israel, from whom this theory passed on to English Protestants and Cromwell’s inner circle (Thomas Harrison).

Proponents of this theory considered Cromwell himself to be the future world Monarch of the Fifth Monarchy. The Fifth Monarchy was to be distinguished by the abolition of Catholicism, hereditary monarchical power, estates and to represent the triumph of bourgeois democracy and capitalism.

This was continued by the current of “British Israelism,” which declared the English to be the “ten lost tribes of Israel” and spread the belief in the coming world domination of England and the Anglo-Saxon race. The world rule of the “New Israelites” (Anglo-Saxons) was seen beyond the Four Kingdoms and broke with traditional Christian eschatology, as the Fifth Monarchy meant the destruction of traditional Christian kingdoms and the rule of the “chosen people” (not Jews, but the English).

From England, extreme Protestant sects transferred these ideas to the USA, which was created as a historical embodiment of the Fifth Monarchy. Hence the American eschatology in the mythologies of William Blake (in America a Prophecy the USA is represented by the giant Orcus freeing himself from the chains of the old god), who was also an adherent of the theory of “British Israelism.” Blake embodied these ideas in his poem “Jerusalem,” which became the unofficial anthem of England.

USA: Dispensationalism

In the United States, the ideas of “British Israelism” and the Fifth Monarchy were developed in some Protestant denominations and became the basis for a special current of dispensationalism based on the ideas of the Plymouth Brethren (preacher John Darby) and the Scofield edition of the Bible, where the eschatological interpretation in a dispensationalist way is incorporated into the biblical text in such a way that to ordinary people it seems to be a single narrative.

Dispensationalism considers Anglo-Saxons and Protestants (“twice born”) to be the chosen people, and applies to them all the prophecies about the Jews. According to this doctrine, mankind lives at the end of the last “dispensation” of the cycle, and the Second Coming of Christ will soon take place, and all the faithful will be raptured into heaven (the Rapture). But this will be preceded by a final battle (Armageddon) with the “king of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,” which from the 19th century to the present day has meant Russia. Before this Russia would invade Palestine and, there, fight with the “twice-born” (Anglo-Saxons), and then be defeated by them. After that, there would be a mass conversion of Jews to Protestantism and an ascent to heaven (by means of miracles or spacecraft).

In recent decades, this current has merged with political Zionism and has become the basis of the ideology and geopolitics of the American neocons.

France: The Great Monarch

In France, as early as the late Middle Ages and the dawn of the Modern Age, an eschatological theory of the Great Monarch developed, which claimed that a secret French king, chosen by God, would appear at the end of time and save humanity—from decadence, Protestantism, and materialism. This version of eschatology is Francocentric and conservative, and circulated in mystically oriented circles of the aristocracy. The difference from traditional Catholic eschatology is that the French king, rather than the Vatican See, is the barrier to the Antichrist.

Some researchers consider Gaullism to be a secular and simplified geopolitical version of the Great Monarch’s eschatology. General De Gaulle advocated the unification of the peoples of Europe (primarily the French, Germans and Russians) and against NATO and Anglo-Saxon hegemony. The French writer Jean Parvulesco (following Raymond Abellio) called it “the mystical dimension of Gaullism.”

But the vast majority of the French ruling class is dominated by Masonic eschatology—with the exact opposite understanding.

Italy: The Ghibellines and the Greyhound

In the Middle Ages, the confrontation between the Roman throne and imperial power—after Charlemagne proclaimed himself “Emperor”—at times became extremely acute. This led to the creation of two parties—the Guelphs, supporters of the Pope, and the Ghibellines, supporters of the Emperor. They were most widespread in Italy, the possession of which was the basis for German kings to be recognized as Emperors of the (Western) Roman Empire after coronation in Rome.

The poet Dante was a supporter of the Ghibellines and encoded in his poem, Divine Comedy, eschatological teaching of the Ghibellines that after the temporary rule of the Ghibellines and the complete degradation of the Catholic Church, a true Ghibelline monarch would come to Europe, who would revive the morals and spirituality of Western civilization. He is symbolically represented in the figure of the greyhound (veltro) and the mystical number DXV (515), which yields, after rearrangement of letters/digits the word, DVX, “leader.” Dante expounded the ideas of the World Monarchy in a separate treatise. Here again the eschatological theme is connected with monarchical power—and to a greater extent than with the Catholic Church. For Dante, the French monarchy was seen as being on the side of the Antichrist, as was the Roman throne that had risen against the Emperor.

Germany: Hegel and the End of History

The original version of eschatology is given in Hegel’s philosophy. He sees history as a dialectical process of the scattering of the Spirit through Nature, and then a new gathering of the particles of the Spirit in an enlightened society. The culmination of this process according to Hegel would be the creation of a unified German state on the basis of the Prussian monarchy (during his lifetime it did not exist). In this enlightened monarchy, the cycle of the history of the Spirit would be completed. These ideas influenced the Second Reich and Bismarck, and later in a distorted form Hitler’s Third Reich. It was Hegel who put forward the thesis of the “end of history” in a philosophical context, combining in a peculiar combination Christian eschatology (including the figure of the Christian ruler) and a special mystical-monarchical interpretation of social progress (as a preliminary stage before the creation of the world empire of philosophers).

The German philosopher (Catholic) Carl Schmitt correlated the idea of the Reich with the function of the Katechon, the restainer, which was the meaning of imperial power in Byzantium and which was usurped (according to the Orthodox) in the ninth century by the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne. This line was partly in line with the Ghibelline tradition.

The German Jew, Karl Marx, built a theory of communism (the end of history) on an inverted materialist version of Hegelianism, and the Russian philosopher Alexandre Kojève tried to identify the end of history with globalism and the planetary triumph of liberalism. But it is important that Hegel himself, unlike his sectarian interpreters, was an eschatological, Germano-centered monarchist.

Iberia: The Habsburgs and Planetary Evangelization

Eschatology in the Spanish version was linked to the colonization of the Americas and the mission of Charles V Habsburg and his dynastic successors. Since in the prophecies about the end of the world (Pseudo-Methodius of Patara), the sign of the end of the world was the spread of the Gospel to all mankind and the establishment of a worldwide Christian empire under a Catholic world king. The geographical discoveries and the establishment of vast colonies by Spain gave reason to consider the Spanish Habsburgs—above all Charles V and Philip II—as contenders for the role of world monarch. This Catholic-monarchical version, partly consonant with the French version, but in contrast focused on the Austrian Emperors, the traditional opponents of the French dynasty. Christopher Columbus was a proponent of an eschatological world empire during the reigns of the Catholic kings Isabella and Ferdinand, and reflected his eschatological views in The Book of Prophecies, compiled on the eve of his fourth voyage to the Americas and completed immediately after his return.

After the Bourbon reign in Spain, this eschatological line disappeared. Its echoes, partly, can be found in Catholic circles in Latin America and especially in the Jesuits.

The Fifth Empire in the Portuguese version and its Brazilian offshoot are generally close in type to this version of eschatology.

Israel: The Territory of Mashiach

The State of Israel was established in 1948 in Palestine, as a realization of the eschatological aspirations of the Jewish Diaspora, who had been waiting for two millennia for a return to the Promised Land. Jewish eschatology is based on the belief in the chosenness of the Jews and their special role in the end times, when the Jewish Mashiach will come and Jews will rule the world. It is the best studied. In many ways, it is Jewish eschatology that has determined the main scenarios of end-of-the-world visions in monotheistic traditions.

Modern Israel was created as a state prepared for the coming of Mashiach, and if this function is taken out of the picture, its very existence loses its meaning—first of all, in the eyes of the Jews themselves.

Geopolitically, Israel cannot claim to be an independent civilization, an empire, whose scale is necessary for full participation in global eschatological processes. However, if we take into account the rapprochement of political Zionists in the United States with neocons and Protestant dispensationalists, the role of Jews in the last century in the Masonic lodges, the influence of the Diaspora in the ruling and especially economic elites of the West, then the whole picture changes, and the basis for serious eschatological events turns out to be significant.

The Kabbalistic interpretation of the migration route of the bulk of the Jewish Diaspora describes it as following the Shekhinah (God’s Presence) in exile (according to Rabbi Alon Anava). At the beginning of the Galut (dispersion), the bulk of the Jews were concentrated in the Middle East (Mizrahi). Then the Shekhinah began to rise to the north and the Caucasus (Khazar Kaganate). From there, the path of the Shekhinah led to Western Russia, to the Baltics and to Eastern Europe (Ashkenazi). Then its movement led the Ashkenazi to go deeper into Western Europe, and made the Sephardim move from the Iberian Peninsula to Holland and the American colonies. Finally, the bulk of the Jews concentrated in the United States, where they still represent a majority compared to Jewish communities in other countries. Thus, the Shekhinah remains in the United States. The second largest community of Jews is in Israel. When the proportions shift in Israel’s favor, it will mean that the Shekhinah, after a two-thousand-year circle, has returned to Palestine.

Then we should expect the building of the Third Temple and the coming of the Mashiach. This is the logic of Jewish eschatology, clearly visible in the political processes unfolding around Israel. This idea is adhered to by the majority of religious Zionists, who make up a significant percentage of Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora. But any Jew, wherever he or she may be and whatever ideology he or she may share, cannot fail to recognize the eschatological nature of the modern state of Israel and, consequently, the far-reaching goals of its government.

Orthodox Eschatology

Greeks: The Marble Emperor

In the Orthodox population of Greece, after the fall of Byzantium and the seizure of power by the Ottomans, an eschatological theory developed about the coming of an Orthodox liberator-king—the Marble Emperor. His figure was sometimes interpreted as the return of Constantine XII Paleologos, who, according to legend, did not die when the Turks took Constantinople, but was carried away by an angel to the Marble Gate and there awaits his hour to free the Orthodox (Greeks) from the oppression of foreigners.

In some versions of the eschatological legend this mission was entrusted to the “red-haired king of the north,” by whom in the 18th century many Athonite monks understood the Russian Emperor.

These are echoes of the classical Byzantine doctrine of the Katechon, the “restainer” who is destined to become the main obstacle in the way of the “son of perdition” (Second Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians) and of the Tsar-Savior from the book of Pseudo-Methodius of Patara. Greek political-religious thought retained this eschatological component during the Ottoman period, although after the liberation from the Turks, Greek statehood began to be built on Masonic liberal-democratic models (despite the brief period of rule by a number of European dynasties), completely breaking with the Byzantine heritage.

Russia: The King of the Third Rome, the Savior of the Sects, and Communism

In Russia, eschatology took a stable form by the end of the fifteenth century, which was reflected in the theory of Moscow as the Third Rome. It asserted that the mission of the Katechon, the restainer, after the fall of Constantinople passed to Muscovite Russia, which became the nucleus of the only Orthodox Empire—that is, Rome. The Grand Duke Moscow changed the status and became Tsar, Vasilevs, Emperor, restraining.

Henceforth, the mission of Russia and the Russian people was to slow down the coming of the “son of perdition,” the Antichrist, and to resist him in every possible way. This formed the core of Russian eschatology, and formalized the status of the Russian people as “God-bearers.”

Forgotten in the era of the Western reforms of Peter and his followers, the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome revived again in the 19th century, under the influence of the Slavophiles, and then became a central theme in the Russian Orthodox Church beyond the Frontier.

After the schism, eschatology became widespread among the Old Believers and sectarians. The Old Believers generally believed that the fall of the Third Rome had already irreversibly taken place, while the sectarians (Khlysty, Skoptsy), on the contrary, believed in the imminent coming of the “Russian Christ.”

The secular version of sectarian “optimistic” eschatology was taken up by the Bolsheviks, hiding it under the Marxist version of Hegel’s end of history. In the last period of the USSR, the eschatological belief in communism faded, and the regime and the country collapsed.

The theme of Russian eschatology became relevant again in Russia after the beginning of the Special Military Operation, when the confrontation (with the Masonic-liberal and materialistic-atheistic) civilization of the West became extremely acute. Logically, as Russia establishes itself as a separate civilization, the role of eschatology and the central importance of the function of the Katechon will only increase.

The Islamic World

Sunnism: The Sunni Mahdi

In Sunnism, the end of the world is not described in detail, and the visions of the coming leader of the Islamic community, the Mahdi, pale before the description of the Last Judgment that God (Allah) will administer at the end of time. Nevertheless, this figure is there and is described in some detail in the hadiths. It is about the emergence of a military and political leader of the Islamic world who will restore justice, order and piety, which has fallen into decay by the end of time.

The authoritative Sufi, Ibn Arabi, specifies that the Mahdi will be assisted in ruling by “viziers,” forming the basis of the eschatological government; and according to him, all the viziers of this “metaphysical government,” as assistants and projections of the unified pole (kutbah) will come from non-Arabic Islamic communities.

The Mahdi will defeat al-Dajjal (the Liar) and establish Islamic rule. A peculiar version of Islamic eschatology is also professed by supporters of the Islamic State (banned in Russia). Various figures in Islam claimed for the role of Mahdi. Most recently, the head of the Turkish PMC SADAT Adnan Tanriverdi proclaimed Erdogan as the Mahdi.

Iran: The Twelfth Imam

In Shi’ism, the Mahdi theme is much more fully developed, and eschatology underlies the very political-religious teachings of the Shi’ites. Shi’ites consider only the followers of Ali, the Imams, to be the legitimate rulers of the Islamic community. They believe that the last, Twelth, Imam did not die, but withdrew into concealment. He will appear to people again at the end of time. This will be the beginning of the rise of the Shia world.

Then there will be the appearance of Christ, who together with the Mahdi will fight with al-Dajjal and defeat him, establishing for a short period—just before the end of the world—a just, spiritual order.

Such views are espoused by the majority of Shiites, and in Iran it is the official ideology, largely determining the entire political strategy of this country.

Shiite eschatology in many respects continues the Iranian pre-Islamic tradition of Zoroastrianism, which had a developed theory of the change of cycles and their culmination in the Great Restoration (frashokart). There the image of the coming King-Savior, Saoshyant, who is destined to be born magically from a pure Virgin and defeat the army of the dark beginning (Ahriman) in the last battle, also plays an important role.

Probably, it was the ancient Iranian doctrine about the struggle of light (Ormuzd) and dark (Ahriman) began through history, as a key to its meaning and about the final victory of the warriors of light, became the basis for the eschatological part of monotheistic teachings. But in any case, the influence of Zoroastrianism on Shi’ism is obvious, and this is what gives Iranian eschatology such a sharp and vivid political expression.

Southeast Asia

India: Kalki

In Hinduism, the end of the world has little significance, although a number of sacred texts associated with the Kalachakra cycle tell of kings of the mystical land of Shambhala, where the conditions of the golden age reign. At the ultimate moment in history, one of these kings, Kalki, believed to be the tenth avatar of Vishnu, will appear in the human world and fight the demon Kali. Kalki’s victory will end the dark age and signify a new beginning (satya-yuga).

Kali-yuga (the age of darkness) is described as an era of the decline of mores, traditional values and the spiritual foundations of Indian civilization. Although Indian tradition is quite detached from history and its cycles, believing that spiritual realization can be achieved under any conditions, eschatological motifs are quite present in culture and politics.

In contemporary India, the popular conservative politician and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is recognized by some traditionalist circles as a divine avatar, either of Kalki himself or his harbinger.

Buddhism: The Buddha of Times to Come

Eschatological motifs are also developed in the Buddhist tradition. The end of time is seen in it as the coming of the future buddha, Maitreya. His mission is to renew the spiritual life of the sangha, the Buddhist community, and to turn humanity to the salvific path of awakening.

On Buddhism were based some political systems of the countries of southeast Asia—Japan, combined with the autochthonous cult of Shinto, centered on the figure of the divine Emperor, and a number of states of Indo-China. In some cases, the appeal to the figure of the coming Buddha Maitreya became the basis for political movements and popular uprisings.

Sometimes eschatological Buddhism found support in communist ideology, giving rise to syncretic forms—Cambodia, Vietnam, etc.

China: The Heavenly Mandate

Eschatology is virtually absent in Confucianism, which is the dominant political-ethical mainstream of Chinese tradition. But at the same time, it is developed in some detail in the religion of the Chinese Taoists and in Taoist-Buddhist syncretistic currents. According to Taoist ideas about cycles, the history of the world is reflected in the change of ruling dynasties in China. This change is the result of the loss of what the Taoists call the “heavenly mandate,” which every legitimate ruler of China is obliged to obtain and retain. When this mandate runs out, China is in turmoil, with civil war and unrest. The situation is saved only by obtaining a new heavenly mandate and enthronement of a new dynasty.

The Chinese Middle Empire is perceived by the Chinese themselves as an image of cosmic hierarchy, as the Universe. In the Empire, culture and nature merge to the point of indistinguishability. Therefore, dynastic cycles are cosmic cycles by which epochs are measured.

The Chinese tradition does not know the absolute end of the world, but believes that any deviation of the world order, in any direction, requires symmetrical restoration. This theory implicitly contributed to the Chinese revolution and retains its significance to the present day.

In fact, the figure of the current chairman of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping, is seen as a new appearance of a legitimate Emperor who has received a heavenly mandate.


Garvey: Black Freemasonry

One of the founders of the movement to restore dignity to African peoples was Jamaican-born Freemason, Marcus Garvey, who applied Masonic progressivism to blacks and called for rebellion against whites.

Garvey took a series of actions to bring American blacks back to the African continent, continuing a process that began in 1820 with the creation of an artificial state on the west coast of Africa, Liberia. Liberia’s government copied the U.S. and so too was composed predominantly of Freemasons.

Garvey interpreted the struggle for the rights of blacks not just as a means to gain equality, but actively promoted the theory of the chosenness of Africans as a special people, which after centuries of slavery was called to establish its dominance—at least in the space of the African continent, but also to claim and assert the rights to power in the U.S. and other colonial countries. And in the center of this world movement should stand the Masonic lodges, where only black people are allowed.

The extreme representatives of this current were the organizations Black Power, Black Panthers and later BLM.

Great Ethiopia

In Africa, among the melanodermatic (black) population, their own original versions of eschatology have developed. All of them (as in Garvey’s eschatology) regard African peoples as endowed with a special historical mission (blacks = New Israel) and foretell the rebirth of themselves and the African continent as a whole. The general scheme of African eschatology considers the era of colonization and slavery as a great spiritual trial for the black race, to be followed by a period of reward, a new golden age.

In one version of this eschatology, the core of African identity is Ethiopia. Its population (Kushites and Semites with dark skin) is seen as the paradigm of African civilization, as Ethiopia is the only African political entity in Africa that has not been colonized, either by European powers or by Muslims.

In this version, all African peoples are considered to be related to Ethiopians, and the Ethiopian monarch, the Negus, is perceived as a prototype of the ruler of the great African Empire. This line was the basis of Rastafarianism, which became popular among the blacks of Jamaica and further spread among the black population of Africa and America.

This version is prevalent among Christian and Christianized peoples. Christian eschatology of Ethiopians (Monophysites) acquires original features connected with the special mission of Ethiopia, which is considered to be the chosen country and the chosen people (hence the legend that the ancestor of Ethiopians was Melchizedek, the King of Peace). In Rastafarianism, this Ethiopian eschatology acquires additional—sometimes quite grotesque—features.

Black Islam

Another version of African eschatology is the Nation of Islam, which emerged in the United States. This doctrine claims that both Moses and Muhammad were black, and that God incarnates in black politico-religious leaders from cycle to cycle. The founder of this current, Wali Fard Muhammad, considered himself to be such an incarnation (this is consonant with the Russian Khlysty). After the death of Wali Fard Mohammed believers expect his return on a spaceship.

Parallel to this is the proclamation of the need for black struggle in the United States and around the world—and not just for their rights, but for recognition of their spiritual and racial leadership in civilization.

Under the contemporary leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, this current has achieved great influence in the United States and has had a significant impact on the ideological formation of black Muslims in Africa.

Black Egypt

Another version of African political eschatology is the KMT current (from the ancient Egyptian name of Egypt itself), which develops the ideas of the African philosopher Sheikh Anta Diop. He and his followers developed the theory that ancient Egypt was a state of black people, which is evident from its name “KMT,” in the Egyptian language meaning “Black Land” or “Land of Blacks.” Anta Diop believed that all African religious systems are echoes of Egyptian religion, which must be restored in its entirety.

His follower Kemi Seba developed the thesis of African monotheism, which is the basis of a religio-political system where power should be vested in a Metaphysical Government expressing the will of God (like the Mahdi viziers in Ibn Arabi’s version). Life should be based on the principle of closed black communities—kilombo.

At the same time, Africans should return to the traditions of their peoples, fully control the African continent, restore as dark a skin color as possible (through melano-oriented marriages) and carry out a spiritual revolution in the world.

The single, sacred Pan-African language should be the restored ancient Egyptian language (medu neter), and Swahili should be used for practical needs. According to the proponents of KMT theory, black people are the bearers of sacredness, Tradition and the people of the golden age. White civilization, on the other hand, represents perversion, pathology, and anti-civilization, where matter, money, and capital stand above spirit.

The main enemy of Africans and blacks around the world is whites, who are considered the bearers of modernization, colonialism, materialism and spiritual degeneration. Victory over whites is the guarantee of blacks’ fulfillment of their world mission and the crowning achievement of the decolonization process.

Latin America

Ethno-eschatology: Indigenism

In Latin American countries, a number of aboriginal Amerindian peoples see the logical end of colonization as the restoration of ethnic societies (indigenism). These tendencies are developed to varying degrees depending on the country.

Many consider the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II, a descendant of the last Inca ruler, who led an Indian revolt against the Spanish presence in Peru in 1780, as the symbolic beginning of Indian resistance to colonizers.

In Bolivia in 2006, Evo Morales, the first-ever representative of the Aymara Indian people, was elected president. Increasingly, voices are being heard—primarily in Peru and Bolivia—in favor of declaring the ancient Indian cult of the earth goddess Pachamama an official religion.

As a rule, the ethnic eschatology of Latin American Indians is combined with leftist socialist or anarchist currents to create syncretic teachings.

Brazilian Sebastianism

A particular version of eschatology, linked to Portuguese ideas about the Fifth Empire, developed in Brazil. After the capital of the Portuguese Empire was moved to Brazil because of a republican coup d’état in Portugal, the doctrine arose that this transfer of the capital was not accidental and that Brazil itself had a special political-religious mission. If European Portugal lost the doctrine of King Sebastian and followed the path of European bourgeois democracy, then Brazil must now assume this mission and become the territory where, in the critical conditions of the historical cycle, the missing but not dead King Sebastian would be found.

Under the banner of such a doctrine the conservative Catholic-eschatological and imperial revolts against the Masonic liberal government—Canudos, Contestado, etc.—took place in Brazil.

Eschatological Map of Civilizations

Thus, in a multipolar world, different eschatologies clash or enter into an alliance with each other.

In the West, the secular model (progressivism and liberalism) clearly prevails, with a significant addition in the form of extreme Protestant dispensationalism. This is the “end of history,” according to Fukuyama. If we take into account the liberal elite of European countries under full American control, we can speak of a special eschatology that unites almost all NATO countries. We should also add the theory of radical individualism, common to liberals, which demands to free people from all forms of collective identity—up to freedom from sex (gender politics) and even from belonging to the human species (transhumanism, AI). Thus, the new elements of Masonic progressive eschatology, along with the “open society,” are the imperatives of gender reassignment, support for LGBTQ principles, posthumanism, and deep ecology (which rejects the centrality of the human being in the world that all traditional religions and philosophical systems have insisted on).

Although Zionism is not a direct continuation of this version of eschatology, in some of its forms—primarily through its alliance with the American neocons—it partly fits into this strategy; and given the influence of Jews on the ruling elites of the West, these proportions may even be reversed.

Russia and its Katechonic function, which combines the eschatology of the Third Rome and the communist horizon as a legacy of the USSR, stands most blatantly in the way of this end of history.

In China, Western Marxism, already substantially reworked in Maoism, increasingly openly displays Confucian culture, and the head of the CCP, as traditional Emperor, is given a heavenly mandate to rule “All that is under Heaven” (tianxia—天下).

Eschatological sentiments are constantly growing in the Islamic world—both in the Sunni zone and especially in Shiism (primarily in Iran), and it is modern Western civilization—the same one that is now fighting Russia—that is almost unanimously presented as al-Dajjal for all Muslims.

In India, Hindutva-inspired sentiments (the doctrine of the independent identity of Hindus as a special and unique civilization) are gradually growing, proclaiming a return to the roots of the Hindu tradition and its values (which do not coincide at all with Western values), and hence outlining the contours of a special eschatology associated with the phenomenon of Kalka and the overcoming of the Kali-yuga.

Pan-Africanism is developing towards the strengthening of radical teachings about the return of Africans to their identity and a new round of anti-colonial struggle against the white world (understood primarily as colonial countries belonging to the civilization of the West). This describes a new vector of black eschatology.

In Latin America, the desire to strengthen its geopolitical sovereignty is based on both leftist (socialist) eschatology and the defense of Catholic identity, which is particularly evident in Brazil, where both leftists and rightists are increasingly distancing themselves from globalism and U.S. policy (hence Brazil’s participation in the BRICS bloc). The ethno-eschatologies of indigenism, though relatively weak, generally add an important additional dimension to the whole eschatological project.

At the same time, the French aristocratic eschatology (and its secular projection in Gaullism), the German version of the end of history in the form of the German Empire, as well as the Buddhist and Shinto line of the special mission of Japan and the Japanese Emperors—(for now, at least) do not play any noticeable role, being completely bought by the dominant progressive globalist elite and the strategies of the Anglo-Saxons.

Thus, we have a world map of eschatology, corresponding to the contours of a multipolar world.

From this we can now draw whatever conclusions we want.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.

Featured: Multipolarity I, by Roodslav.

Islam and Psychiatry

In 1965, a book entitled, Sociologie des maladies mentales (Sociology of Mental Illnesses) by Georges Bastide was published. This book, densely written, was hailed, upon its publication, by the ethnopsychiatrist Georges Devereux, by the psychiatrist Robert Castel and even by the sociologist Alain Besançon, who was particularly laudatory: “Vast readings, patient clarification of entangled concepts, sharply critical of the results, confrontation with what is confrontable, bold conclusions as to the substance, modest in expression.”

What is True

But Georges Bastide’s project was anything but modest—he wanted to found the sociology of mental illness. He asked the question with a somewhat technical elegance: “Can we make room for social factors in the etiology of mental illnesses?” And of course, if so, which one?

To do this, he began by “establishing the register” of the disciplines involved in the question of mental illness. This is commendable. It is a question of avoiding confusion or even conflicts between researchers, and of guaranteeing the independence of the various human sciences and disciplines concerned: social psychiatry, which is concerned with the morbid social behavior of individuals suffering from mental disorders; the sociology of mental illness, which is interested in communities and groups—particularly those that form spontaneously or not in psychiatric hospitals; ethnopsychiatry, which establishes correlations between ethnic facts and types of illness.

We must add disciplines (“sciences” at the time, but that was “early days”) that were a bit specialized: “ecology,” which brings to sociology some of the most important aspects of the human condition, which brings to the sociology of mental illnesses the recognition of a particular spatial distribution of organic and functional psychoses (but which does not manage to grasp the causes). And industrial psychiatry, which, as its name indicates, is interested in psychopathologies linked to industrialization, and they are numerous, and sometimes serious.

The sociology of mental illness has a history whose conceptual evolution goes from Comte to Durkheim and from Freud to Sullivan and Parsons. Bastide clearly identified the two main types of theoretical approaches that divide the discipline: some that start from psychiatry and go towards sociology, others that go from sociology towards psychiatry. The sociologist reserves the right to re-establish the communication network between the three fields thus delimited, theoretically and practically.

Let us summarize the hypothesis: we cannot understand mental illness or the mentally ill if we do not take into account the society in which both are integrated. Or do not fit in. If madness can have organic causes—lesions, biochemical disorders, hereditary factors, etc.—it also has social causes, which need to be recognized and which is a matter of sociology: if an old man is vulnerable to madness, is it because he is old or because society rejects the old?

In other words, the influence of the environment must be recognized in the psychogenesis of mental illness, even its “organogenesis.” Today, this is obvious, and even a dogma. But it is still necessary to establish some foundations.

Why is this book, which is more than fifty years old, still of interest to us?

In addition to the fact that it constitutes one of the most accomplished, the densest, the most documented works of the time on questions that interest us—madness and mental health—it interests us because obviously our society presents some clinical signs of pathological features. Not to mention, of pure madness.

The Normal and the Pathological and the Family

All peoples distinguish several types of abnormality and all know what a mental disorder is.

It is society that designates the sick to be treated, and it is up to the psychiatrist to find the causes and the reasons for the illness. In order to distinguish the madman from the healthy man, it is necessary to rely on an external criterion, the consensus that the healthy man meets in terms of behaviors shared with the other members of the group (the normative character of health). Hence the theorization (or paradigm) in terms of deviant behaviors or conformity behaviors—those that make social life possible (and those that can also make it impossible).

But if we admit that society comes into play in the genesis of mental illness, the question that arises is that of the more or less pathogenic character of the societies in which men are called to be born, to grow up, to fight for most often, or sometimes to integrate into when they emigrate.

It is the ethnopsychiatrist Georges Devereux who put forward the idea that there are social neuroses.

Industrial society is one that eliminates waste. The unproductive is waste: it is for this reason that the madman is designated for the social “trash,” and that, in a world dedicated to rationalization and planning, he is the only one who can make a protest heard (like that of Nietzsche or Antonin Artaud). The misfortune is that this protest cannot be heard, because it is formulated in a way that is neither intelligible nor, above all, admissible. What remains is silence; in other words, superb isolation. The mental illness is in some way the translation of this marginalism of the values rejected and repressed by society.

As isolation, or if one prefers insularity, is a general feature of our civilization, and even a real ideology, (with, on the one hand, the wild competition for the improvement of one’s social status which pushes one to seek participation, and on the other hand the cultural norms which push one to withdraw), schizophrenia appears as a perfect model of sociological category offering to men the shell that they must secrete around them to be able to maintain, on the peripheries, the systems of “blocked” values. It is indeed the “norms” and the “values” which constitute a base of references from which a system of recognition (and exclusion) is built.

It is not difficult to admit that if the individual participates in a global society and in a culture of which he is one of the “cogs,” he is more deeply influenced by the groups of which he is a part, rather than by the larger community. And the most profound influence is obviously that of the family. We all know that it is within the family that insurmountable conflicts are set up, which generate psychopathology; overcome most of the time, but not always, unfortunately.

In this respect, the family is also a “group” which has its laws, its norms, its prohibitions, its taboos; in short, a system for defining what is allowed, what is tolerated, what is admissible or inadmissible.

But there are two ways of looking at the family. From the point of view of Durkheim and most French sociologists, it is a social institution, organized and controlled by the State through civil status—or by the Church—which considers the conjugal bond as irreducible. The rupture of the marriage contract is not free; it is surrounded by guarantees; it must be formalized to become valid. From the dominant point of view of North American sociology, it is a social-group structuring, according to certain cultural norms; a set of inter-individual relationships between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, possibly between the three generations. European countries are increasingly tending to open up to this perspective, which, if not exclusive of the first, can enter into competition, then into conflict and contradiction. Until today, when the anthropologically normalized and normative family institution (one man and one woman), are eroded by recent laws.

There were thus two possible psychiatries of the family, depending on whether one considers it from the institutional or relational perspective.

No need to be a great expert to announce that pathologies will multiply and undoubtedly worsen.

Religion: An Integrative Force

Among the sociological variables of mental illness, we also find religion, or more exactly the religious group.

If this family is Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Hutterite, it will intervene in the constitution of a healthy psyche, but also in the structuring of psychopathologies, even neuroses or psychoses.

Bastide takes again the hypothesis of Durkheim, who conceived religion as an integrative force and who had established that suicides varied in inverse reason of the more or less integrating character of religion. But he rightly questioned the notion.

“Should we understand it as a simple statistical fact of belonging to a group whose faith one may not live, which simply marks the origin and the fact of being baptized? Or should we give this word its full meaning; that of the mystical experience lived in the depths of the soul?”

Only in the second case does religion retain an integrative function. It would have no effect on those who are not Christians and do not participate in the life of the churches. Bastide rightly points out that France has many atheists who behave in a Catholic way and who live according to the values of their ancestors: they have only secularized Christian ideals without changing their mentality.

Is it possible to establish some correlations between a certain type of mental illness and the various confessions?

Yes, answers the anthropologist, but without much theoretical significance. If the values and norms that constitute the religious culture of an ethnic group dominate in the etiology of mental illnesses, (the family factor being determined by the ethnic-religious cultural traditions, at least at the time), these variables are weighted by the “social class” variable.

Moreover, psychic conflicts resulting from religious identification are rare and in cases encountered, the interest in religious things follows the illness and does not precede it. It is not the religion that is important but the individual’s reaction to it. Clearly, it is the illness or the neurosis that is prior to the religion. “The neuroses can transform religion into a pathological construction and the psychoses into feeding the delusions. But it is not the religion which creates the one and the other.”

It would be appropriate to inform a large part of our contemporaries about this.

In the 1960s, especially in Italy, psychiatrists and members of the clergy collaborated on these difficult questions. It was a question of “saving” religious life from what could jeopardize it (intra-family conflicts, the inhumanity of industrial relations) and which could eat away at it from within and make it fail in neurosis. One sought in the community spirit or the discipline of the Churches—(Christian asceticism)—a ” dominium ” of the affective life—in particular of the impulsive life—a protective environment, an education of the spirit and an orientation towards a healthier world. Even more “holy.”

All this is still very true, in any case for the Christian religion which largely molded and configured the European culture and mentality and thus French. At least until the last forty years.

But then what about Islam in a sociology of mental illness? And what about Muslim immigration, since it is clear that it is with this specific immigration that the European peoples are confronted.

The “Culture Shock”: “The Poplar Quarrel”

A famous quarrel pitted André Gide and Maurice Barrès against each other about rootlessness. It is known as the “Poplar Quarrel” because it uses the botanical analogy. Barrès stressed the harmful effects of rootlessness; Gide saw in it the sine qua non condition of creativity—except that the two cultures between which Gide saw himself divided were those of Normandy and Neustria… There is undoubtedly a more violent duality.

What does sociology say about the question?

Everything obviously depends on the predispositions—robust personalities are enriched by this double culture. And they usually learn to exploit both of them skillfully.

In any case, there is always a crisis and this crisis for some may be difficult or impossible to overcome. Learning new cultural mechanisms is difficult after the plasticity of childhood. The new social environment is perceived as hostile, because one does not manage to master it, even if only symbolically through the shared language. More seriously, the new environment is not perceived as different but as contradictory. Anxiety and hostility are the consequences of these difficulties.

In our case, the “European” social body evolved from a Christian society, with associated values and also virtues (even in counterfeits), the morality sometimes a little narrow and puritanical—to a “secularized” society; then secular one; in other words, essentially atheist. And since a few decades, Europe became anti-Christian and even Christianophobic.

In other words, Muslims found themselves faced with a changing society, with which they had less and less affinity, to the point of no longer recognizing themselves at all in the values displayed. The new anthropological foundation only reinforced their deep aversion for a society that they perceive as perverse, immodest and deeply revolting.

Studies, fifty years ago by Georges Bastide, showed that in the case of mixed marriages, the parent belonging to a different civilization pulled the child towards his culture, which made the child internalize a double system of contradictory standards. The disorders resulted from the conflict of cultures, not from family conflicts.

It is known, for example, that the close relationship of sons to their mothers generally delays Americanization (i.e., integration). However, no one is unaware of the hold of the maternal imago in all cultures and societies, but particularly in Muslim society. It is the male child who allows the mother to finally exist. Many psychoses appear not when there is a rupture of the family or internal tribal bonds but where the abnormal rigidity of these pre-social bonds prevents the individual from freeing himself from the law of his family circle, or his restricted group remained foreign to the social community. This is exactly the situation of the Muslim family, tribal, rigid and especially more and more alien to the society that surrounds it.

In the case of a marriage between Muslim and French (of Christian tradition but most often without any knowledge of his or her religious tradition), the Muslim parent has no need to “pull” the child to him or her. The community force acts. The child will be “Islamized.”

This so-called “moderate” Islam is in reality a dormant, muted Islam. It guarantees a possible functioning in European society, according to schizoid modalities (very widespread, whatever the religion) which allow to live, to have a job. The virus is in a way “dormant.” But in the face of the mutations of our societies, and their deviated ethics, radicalized and radicalizing Islam begins to shake the whole edifice. A very deep violence comes out of it, linked to the anguish of psychological disintegration of personalities which have been structured according to modes of which we know very little. Ethnopsychiatrists have been interested in traditional cultures, but relatively little in the disorders of the Muslim population. The proof is that in 1965, Islam was not included in religious variables, nor in any variables at all.

A Psychiatry of Transplantation and Uprooting?

It is obvious that a “crisis of transplantation” is inevitable, whatever the modalities in which it takes shape.

The migration of Muslim communities is not a migration like any other. The men and women who arrive in Europe belong to a completely different civilization. The basic personality built in a Muslim society obeys rigidities and defines a mentality. The new environment can only reshape a mentality that is “compatible” with the host country, if the person does not live withdrawn in a reconstructed environment. However, it takes months before a person or a family is integrated; in other words, before they have a home, a job, a stability that is not based on parasites. The time to feed many feelings of frustration, powerlessness, envy no doubt. The perfect ground for developing mental disorders.

However, the reality that is ours is striking. “Ghettos” are not the sole responsibility of the host country, but also of the need of migrant communities to reconstitute something of their country of origin.
Even if one emigrates to improve one’s social status, the change is marked by a decline in status. We know that Germany has integrated skilled men and women with low wages and trainee status. If at first, given their situation, these doctors, computer scientists and others are happy about the “chance” they have been given, it is not certain that in the long run their appreciation does not change. However, the descent in the social scale occupies an important place in the genesis of mental disorders.

How can the old European lands, de-Christianized, and having to face attacks of a great violence that aim at destroying the anthropological base which constitutes the only common element with the Muslim community, face without risk of collapse such a terrifying aggression?

Durkheim had provided a still effective framework by distinguishing four types of solidarity: mechanical solidarity, organic solidarity, forced solidarity (which defines colonial and slave societies, and apparently ours), and finally anomie. He analyzed the phenomenon of suicide within this framework that he had elaborated. In societies with forced or anomic solidarity, there is an abnormal increase in the suicide rate. This is the case in our societies. Anomie, by developing anxiety (the ambition without brake, the amplitude of the unrealizable projects, or, today, the confusion between unrealizable dreams and projects), by multiplying the failures is particularly apt to multiply the number of suicides.

It seems to me that what we are witnessing is less a clash of civilizations than a clash—very brutal and very violent—of mentalities.

Christianity used to mediate (in an often anomalous, diffuse, sometimes rather soft way) between the Muslim community and French society. Contrary to the efforts to make people believe that we have the same God, which is not the case; but we had common or similar ethical positions in matters of sexuality, an “altruism” whose roots were undoubtedly not comparable, but which in practice are similar: almsgiving, prayer. But blinded by her internal affairs, by the post-conciliar crisis, by the preoccupation to show the world her brand new modernism, the Church remained blind to the essential.

The retreat of Christianity has left Islam facing an increasingly libertine, impudent and shameless secular society, which is now seen not as different and compatible at least on the essentials, but as radically “contradictory.

And then came Muslim migration.

A Shock of Mentalities

From now on, we have to face a community, which not only does not wish to integrate itself into our society but which intends to “disintegrate” it. The madman does not invent his madness: he uses the symptomatological stereotypes that the society or the community to which he belongs provides him. He needs them to give signs. The world of madness not only feeds on images and signs borrowed from the surrounding world, but it keeps the formal laws of this world. Faced with a European madness, understood as the triumph of pure subjectivity, we have today a new pathological disorder: the “jihadist” madness, the madness of the Muslim world understood as the triumph of the religious group.

What better sign than to blow oneself up, in other words to disintegrate? The jihadist with his belt of explosives gives himself to be seen and heard by two types of audience: the Muslims, to whom he addresses himself to show the strength of his faith, and to the society he wants to destroy. And as well to his instructors.

We have two “matrices” to generate mental disorders.

On the one hand, a society suffering from dementia and suicidal madness, which no longer wants to encourage life, support old age, regulate the aggressiveness of dominant males and look after the weakest. And on the other hand, a society that pretends to freeze the roles of men and women, to control social behaviors, to fossilize effort, to forbid women any public life, to forbid them any social mobility and even any education.

They are two faces of the same unheard-of violence: convulsive fury on one side; ideological lies and mass propaganda on the other.

And between them? Ecumenical dialogue and SREM (Department of Muslim Relations) for the Churches, and for the State, ELCOs (Teaching Languages and Cultures of Origin).

In other words, nothing.

Marion Duvauchel is a historian of religions and holds a PhD in philosophy. She has published widely, and has taught in various places, including France, Morocco, Qatar, and Cambodia. She is the founder of the Pteah Barang, in Cambodia.

Featured: Pelerinage aux lieux dits saints de la ville de La Mecque en Arabie Saoudite—Le Hajj (Pilgrimage to the holy places of Mecca in Saudi Arabia—The Hajj), by Alfred Dehodencq (1822—1882); painted ca. late 19th century.

Anthropology in Islam, Anthropology of Islam

“Classical” Islamology (that of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries) was never really interested in the vision of man in Islam, being preoccupied with philology and the creation of a library of texts. The idea of an “anthropology of Islam” is only a few decades old at most, and as such, it is part of the paradigm of the “science of man” developed over the last two centuries, which defines the practices and methods of ethnology and conditions its debates as well as its issues. This anthropology of Islam is poorly distinguished from sociology, which signed the death warrant of ethnology before integrating it into its orbit. To be precise, we should therefore speak of a sociology of Muslim societies, to be carefully distinguished from an anthropology of Islamized societies, which yet remains to be elaborated.

The anthropology of Islam is not ours. It is not like ours, carried by two thousand years of philosophical history, nor is it marked by the encounter in the second century of Christian wisdom and Greek wisdom, which cast Semitic concepts into the linguistic universe of Hellenism; and unlike ours, it has not elaborated a singular humanism (which is now beaten to a pulp) but which has nonetheless had several centuries of existence and debate.

If we consider the structure of biblical thought, its constitutive tendencies, the reasons why Saint Thomas Aquinas, after his master Albert the Great, chose Aristotle rather than Plato as his guide in philosophy become clear: the Platonic doctrine of matter, of the sensible, of evil, of soul and body, was incompatible with biblical realism and with love in the whole Hebrew tradition for the sensible creation. The first act of the Old Testament is a justly famous text, “the Creation story.” What is called Genesis is the Semitic answer to the question that the pre-Socratics, also known as the physical philosophers, asked themselves: that of the origin of the world. But contrary to the depreciation of the Greek world and then of Manichaeism, the phrase “and God saw that it was good” establishes a solid foundation for a knowledge of the sensible world and even of matter, which is crucial for the future development of physics. It is also a mistake to believe that this text evokes the origin of man; rather, it provides the principles of intelligibility of human nature, and therefore the keys to understanding and knowing man, starting with the true nature of sexual differentiation. “Male and female (ish and isha) he created them.” Woman in the Bible can only be interpreted as that which is most intimate to man, his opposite, his interlocutor, his helper in the difficult and exalting work proposed to accomplish creation.

Genesis implies a metaphysics and an idea of time. The world is not the product of a conflict of elements driven by chance—a concession to the mathematics of games—and the dark necessity of old Babylo-Hellenic myths. The world is the place of emergence, development and fulfillment of human freedom, in creation, in history, and in the human world, family, city, different organic units as they appear in different climes and under different historical skies. Christianity contains a principle of order, of logic, of differentiation and therefore of freedom, which, properly understood, is destructive to all oppression.

Nothing of the sort in Islam.

The Koran has nothing like the “and God saw that it was good” that is found in Genesis. For Islam, death is the result of a problem of technical difficulties that the Creator could not solve. There is no real freedom in Islamic creation. This leads to a very precise relationship with the word: what is the point of convincing if everything is determined? What is the point of acting if the divine arbitrariness governs the whole world and human destiny?

The very foundations of religion are hostile to our entire tradition of rhetoric; and the “faith/reason” debate ended in the 12th century with Al Ghazali, the “gravedigger of reason.” In case of conflict between reason and the precepts of Muhammad, it is the precepts of Muhammad that a Muslim must bow to. No deliberation, no use of reason in a difficult situation which requires a free and reasonable decision.

Averroes himself, an infinitely enlightened man, granted the right of exegesis to only a few chosen ones. From the point of view of the revealed Law, men are divided into three classes: those who are incapable of knowing any interpretation, those who can know the dialectical interpretation and those who can know the certain interpretation, that is, the philosophers. A few chosen ones.

It is found in Surah the Table (Al-Ma’idah’) verse 101: “Do not ask questions about things that, if explained to you, might bring you misfortune.”

Now, the whole life of the Muslim is governed by the Koran or by the Hadith, even if he often does not know them more than he distinguishes them. The Muslim law called Sharia has been established by jurists on the basis of these two essential sources.

If we want to pose correctly the problem of an anthropology of Islam (or in Islam), it is therefore necessary to distinguish two fields: that of Koranic anthropology (as we say today, biblical anthropology) and that of the political anthropology of Islam. The latter can be inferred from the Mohammedan revelation, which requires the analysis of the main models of domination that can be seen being put in place in and through Muslim history.

At the heart of this political anthropology is the idea of jihad.

The Koranic anthropology alone involves a set of difficulties that are still insufficiently laid bare in research. Muslim prophecy enters history very quickly, and this history is a history of military conquest and warlike domination. Could an ideology of conquest have been forged with such urgency? This is a real question of military history, and this question also refers to a question of anthropology.

The fragmentary texts of the “revelation” to Muhammad are supposed to have been inscribed, as this revelation was being spoken, by attentive listeners upon various materials, constituted into a more complete text at the initiative of Muhammad and then at that of his supposed great companions. The definitive fixing of the Koran thus appears to have had as its source a collective and joint action emanating from the first community of believers.

Now, the Koran is characterized by the multitude of external contributions, contributions recognized as being essentially of “biblical” origin. The “biblicism” of the Koran (which goes back in time to the Creation) seems to have been constituted in a relationship to the books of Judaism but in a permanent historical hiatus with this contiguous past. The first difficulty with the anthropology of the Koran comes therefore from these biblical sources, which for half a century have been made autonomous from the source to which they refer. That there may have been “borrowing” is even denied in the name of a research that wants to be free of these invading myths. And yet there is the Bible, even though the Koran asserts its status as a revealed text. The a posteriori recognition of the Koran that is asked of the Jewish world is quite simply impossible. One cannot speak of coherence other than the coherence of the Koranic narrative in a set of suras that are both composite and terribly repetitive. From the Koran-revelation of the prophetic period to the Koran-vulgate (of the Uthmanian period) of the Muslim ages, one must admit a rupture of representation. The writing of the Koran seems to have been an Arab affair, whereas the exegesis and the construction of caliphal Islam were mainly a matter for converts. Relying on a tradition that mythically claimed to be authenticated by going back to the prophet and his companions, efforts were made to present a precise order of revelation of the suras, which corrected the order of the vulgate. It was essential that no question should remain unanswered. The great sacred tradition of classical Islam proceeds from this reality.

To this hiatus between the biblical sources and their “integration” into the written Koran, is added another hiatus, a chronological one, or if one prefers historical, between the tribal age of Mohammed and the societies that followed. This hiatus is also social, ethnic and religious. The notion of “Muslim” only managed to separate itself from its ethnic and racial component from the middle of the 8th century onwards with the accession of the Abbasid family to power.

The Koran reflects an extremely pragmatic traditional tribal society: the primary goal of patriarchal tribal families is to survive in a hostile environment. The desert environment means that their way of life is confined to practical problems. No binding structure: no police or courts. Marked by a system of survival representation, the tribes are governed by relationships of solidarity and alliance.

In the first period, being Muslim meant “entering into allegiance to Allah;” and this concerned the whole tribe (through negotiation or even blackmail); it meant being submissive, and from the beginning; becoming Muslim meant entering into an alliance that was first of all social, which was obviously not given to everyone: one had to be accepted as a member attached to a tribe originating from the Arabian Peninsula. As soon as one was no longer interested, one left the alliance. The members of this society did not care about heaven or hell. The goal was not to convert the world to Islam but to get booty. The exit from Arabia was about raids and massacres. For a century and a half, the conquered were not asked to convert; when the tribes left Arabia, they left others alive because it pays. The first “Muslims” just wanted the people to keep quiet and pay them tribute. What they thought or believed in was not their concern. During the period of the first two caliphates, that of Medina (in the founding age of original Islam) which is integrated into the traditional representation of Muslim historiography and that of Damascus which succeeded it in the middle of the seventh century, one could only become a Muslim by joining an Arab tribe: conversion was first of all social before being religious. The convert received the status of mawla, a freed slave.

The ideal Muslim community made up of pious companions therefore never existed. In the ninth century, when Islam integrated and dominated outside populations, it entered a completely different social model and it was then that the fantasy of an ideal past was created.

The appropriation of the period of origins by the founding narrative and the myth was all the easier since the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Muslim societies of the period of the triumphant caliphates had completely broken with the society of the tribal Arabs, contemporaries of the prophet, to whom they nevertheless claimed to belong. What had been defined by a first society (disappeared) was rewritten by another society, not that of the Arabs, but that of the converts, the Abbasids. They broke with a certain tribal model and established an imperial logic, with a hierarchy, constraints, an ideology and a dogmatism that no longer gave precedence to the tribes, even if it still entered into the logic of domination.

The converts largely contributed to the transformation of the original model. Their previous religious practice influenced the way they practiced Islam. Many of them were former Christians and thus found a space in which the Bible and Jesus were still spoken of, and they imported something of the apostasy religion into it. And probably also in the Koran.

The corpus designated as “prophetic words” was invented in this new context, two or three centuries after the emergence of tribal Islam, in a society that no longer had anything to do with that of the seventh century.

Did this mean that the “tribal” difference was erased? No, it simply meant that all populations were now equally subject to the Muslim caliph. It was a change from one political model to another. It only remained to substitute a purely Muslim representation of this past. This was done as soon as the society to be built had found the ways of a common configuration which could integrate the various components. It is only then that Islam as we see it today was constructed.

Two political projects governed these two historical moments: that of the Islam of the tribes and that of the Islam of the caliphs. In the former, the aim was to create a civil society with Islam as its frame of reference, a frame adapted to the socio-political functioning of the clan society close to the original Islam of the time of the Prophet. Two centuries later, the model of imperialist states was set up with the aim of dominating other states, kingdoms or regions militarily, politically, economically, culturally and therefore religiously in order to extend their hegemony. Hence the importance of controlling wealth to finance the usual means of conquest: the army.

This is why we can say that there is no notion of a holy war for the Arab caliphates, Umayyads or Abbasids, but only a classical war between empires.

Throughout the history of Muslim domination, we can see the coexistence of these two political models, sometimes competing. Thus, in the eleventh century, in West Africa, facing the Berber Ibadites, advocates of a non-state Islam, stood the Arab-Berber Malekites for whom it was a question of constituting an empire where Islam was the mark of submission of pagans (the blacks) and their insertion into the civilized world. Draining the gold from Ghana and Mali was a way of providing a source of financing for military campaigns.

At the very heart of the anthropology of Islam, that of the Koran as well as the political anthropology such as we can theorize it, there is the native violence of man, and in particular political violence: there is Jihad.

Originally, jihad was a very ordinary word which meant “to make an effort to achieve a result.” The first reference in the Koran is to parents waging jihad against their children so that they would not join Muhammad. When the Prophet arrived in Medina, he needed volunteers to carry out an action, so jihad became, “make an effort to join me” or “volunteer.” But this could only be based on the will of the individual. Some joined and then found it too dangerous and gave up. Jihad then became a kind of oath to do a certain action.
Thus, jihad is not a deviation from an essentially spiritual struggle. It is extolled, valued and justified in the Koranic text, and the entire political history of Islam is the history of institutionalized, justified and even glorified violence.

Sufism is held to be the mystical stream of Islam and it is said that true jihad is primarily about spiritual warfare. This is not the case. The figurehead of Sufism is Salman the Persian, whom tradition considers to be one of Mohammed’s instructors, in a mixture of oriental wonder and apocalyptic type legends. He was an Iranian Mazdean who first converted to Christianity and then to Mohammed. He sought the pure religion that he took for that of Abraham. Converted to the Christian faith, he was locked up by his father, escaped, went to Syria and received religious instruction from several Christian bishops and monks. He learned from one of his masters of the coming of a prophet destined to close the cycle of prophetic revelations and to revive the true original religion of Abraham. Above all, with him came the idea of the existence of a spiritual “family,” united by faith and obedience to God and, more generally, of the precedence of filiation by faith over that of the flesh. This notion has been widely taken up by many mystical currents and remains very present in Shiism, where pure-hearted believers are considered to belong to the same family, that of gnosis and wisdom. Salman has rather bolstered various imaginations, like that of Westerners magnetized by a certain romantic idea of Islam, and he has been instrumentalized for various purposes. He serves as both a historical and symbolic linchpin hold together mystical and initiatory Islam to Arab Islam. This thus guarantees the unity of the doctrine and avoids its dismantling—at the price of much violence. In reality, Salman is perfectly inconsistent. The authority that he acquired is posterior to his existence, perhaps real, of companion of the prophet but which no source can attest. This notoriety is due to great intellectuals, both Eastern and Western.

Ibn Arabi, one of the great masters of speculative gnosis, presents Salman as the archetype of the religion and as the heir to the secret meaning of the revelations that preceded Islam. Salman thus plays the eminent role of initiator with the Prophet Muhammad concerning these previous revelations; those which founded in particular this supposedly pure Abrahamic religion. The relay was taken up in France by Henry Corbin who speaks of “angelic magisterium” when he evokes this hermeneutic function. In 2022, France Culture relayed these same ideas, which can be heard in replay. The subtitle reads: “The figure of the patriarch Abraham is the founder of monotheism. The prophetic gesture of the coryphaeus of the believers is presented in the Koranic writing as paradigmatic of the immutable religion, that of prime nature.”

This Islam is a chimera of epigones of Louis Massignon.

The very concept of anthropology has no meaning in Islam; there is no concern for what Man is or for his accomplishment. It is an institutional violence, justified by the Koran, which serves to channel the native violence of men and their tribal groups. It is hard but it makes a kind of peace for Muslims (a very precarious war and sometimes it is even questioned) and an inexpiable war for everyone else.

How can a society receive by violence, intrigue, murder and war a public power that must enforce law, peace, justice, order and happiness? It can only do so by oppression, seduction, propaganda or lies.

This is the whole history of the violent domination of Islam, whatever the political model under which it implements this violent domination, wrapped in the religious phraseology that justifies it.

Marion Duvauchel is a historian of religions and holds a PhD in philosophy. She has published widely, and has taught in various places, including France, Morocco, Qatar, and Cambodia. She is the founder of the Pteah Barang, in Cambodia.

Featured: Salman the Persian and his Teacher. Leaf from a Turkish manuscript, Istanbul, ca. 1594-1595.

Is There a “True Islam?”

In his book, Sur l’Islam [On Islam], Rémi Brague gently mocks Pope Francis’ 2013 statement that “true Islam and a proper interpretation of the Koran are opposed to all violence.” “True Islam?” In this fascinating book tinged with caustic humor, striking by its erudition and its clarity, Rémi Brague puts things in their right place: by seeking to apprehend Islam under its different facets, without any positive or negative a priori, he shows that there is no “true Islam” and that it cannot exist because it does not recognize an authoritative magisterium, as it is the case in the Catholic Church. The Islamic terrorist who kills “unbelievers” can claim to be a “true Islam” just as much as the Sufi who is immersed in his meditations.

In order to understand what Islam is, therefore, what the Islamic vision of God and the world is, Brague explores its “fundamentals,” and in particular the Koran, which, since the Mu’tazilite crisis of the ninth century, has been fixed as the uncreated word of God dictated to Muhammad. This essential aspect explains an important part of the Muslim reality. The Koran contains a number of legal provisions, often extremely precise and dealing with daily life in some of its smallest details, making Islam more than a simple religion, “a legislation,” writes Brague—a “religion of the Law.” “In this way,” he continues, “when Islam, as a religion, enters Europe, it does not do so only as a religion…. It enters as a civilization that forms an organic whole and proposes well-defined rules of life.”

In Islam, reason can in no way be the source of the obligation of law, the law comes directly from God, via the Koran itself, the uncreated word of God. And when contradictions arise, they are resolved by the theory of “abrogation” which gives primacy to the most recent Koranic verse, which is always more severe than the previous one—thereby relativizing the more tolerant passages towards Jews and Christians that are usually put forward.

Thus, since there is only God’s law, the concept of natural law is meaningless and there can be, in theory, no common rules for Muslims and “unbelievers.” The consequences of this approach to law, a discipline that dominates all others in Islam, are important, notably through its repercussions on morality and the relativization of principles that we consider universal: what God wants is good; therefore what the Koran requires can only be good, including what Muhammad did, who is the “beautiful example” that God recommends to follow (Koran XXXIII, 21). Thus, murdering, torturing, conquering by the sword, lying (taqiyya), multiplying wives (including very young ones, since Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was only 9 years old)—none of these actions are bad since they were done by the “Prophet”. Of course, no Muslim is obliged to do the same, but at least he can do so without betraying his religion.

Islam and Europe

Another theme on which Brague sets the record straight: the contribution of Islamic civilization (in which Christians, Jews, Sabians and Zoroastrians played a significant role) to Europe in the Middle Ages. Admittedly, the Arab sciences, at that time, were more developed in the Islamic than Christian sphere, but, tempers Brague, “Islam as a religion did not bring much to Europe, and only did so late,” while Western Christianity never completely ceased intellectual exchange with Byzantium, which enabled contact with Greek culture to be maintained, and which Islam in no way sought to assimilate.

For about five centuries, Islam, as it were, interrupted its cultural development and gradually allowed itself to be overtaken and dominated by Europe, causing intense humiliation among many Muslims—this is what Brague calls the “ankylosis” of Islam. Today, if it were not for the manna of oil, the Muslim countries, scientifically and militarily weak, would have no bearing at the international level. Their asset is nevertheless their strong demography, coupled with massive immigration to Europe, which has allowed the installation of vast Muslim communities, financed by the money of black gold. This is another, more patient but undoubtedly more effective way to win and thus take revenge on the past. When will we realize it?

Christophe Geffroy publishes the journal La Nef, through whose kind courtesy we are publishing this article.

The Orders of Allah, or the Repudiation of Beauty

Les ordres d’Allah was published in 2006, whose author, Jean-Paul Roux, was a research director at the CNRS. One cannot, therefore, without being anachronistic, qualify it as a conspiracy book. The book is a marvel of clarity and conciseness and raises some central questions in the improbable time that we now live in.

The book says that Muslim society does not resemble ours; that the Muslim man has a personality (a mentality, historians would say) that is in many ways diametrically opposed to ours: “We are not dealing with an amorphous mass, but with a living and dynamic body, and moreover in continuous demographic expansion. We are confronted with it more and more closely, because we travel in Muslim countries, because we are victims of its terrorist attacks, of its apostolate, of the arrival in our lands of millions of immigrants who settle in our cities and whom we come into contact with every day.”

These words date from 20o6.

Muslim law (called, Sharia) has been established by jurists based on two essential sources: the Koran and the Hadith, the latter transmitted by an unbroken chain (or presumed to be so) of honorable and well-known people from the time of Muhammad until the ninth century, when they were recorded by great compilers. Who were these honorable men? Not much is known about them, if anything, and what is known about them has not come to the attention of the press or Islamic scholars.

Would someone like to explain to me by what mystery the Roman Catholic world gives to this chain of oral transmission a credit and a dignity that it denies to all the oral transmission of Eastern Christianity?

The other source of Sharia, the Koran, is untouchable. One must accept this book as such or reject it outright. One cannot be a Muslim if one rejects or even discusses the Quranic text.

Most Muslims do not know the Koran. They have heard of it but have never read it. Ask any Libyan, Afghan, Pakistani coming out of a mosque, he has not read the Koran because it is written in Arabic and is rarely translated and made available to the people. It can therefore be difficult for Muslims to determine whether a particular injunction comes from a Hadith (and can therefore be contested) or from the Koranic text, which imposes the most absolute submission. In fact, the religious culture of most Muslims is much the same as that of the Christians in our parishes. A few stories were finally given some credence. “I was told that…”

I would like to focus on only one of the aspects evoked in Roux’ book: sexuality, going a little beyond the deductions drawn by its author, who is a historian, but not a philosopher.

Why sexuality? Because it constitutes one of the great human conducts, because it engages the moral (or ethical) quality of every man and woman; because this dimension of human existence is organically linked to the vision of man conveyed by a society and internalized (or rejected) by its citizens; because sexuality implies an anthropology, and that of Islam is not only deficient but essentially unequal and oppressive for half of its humanity, women; because, finally, it poses an essential point of metaphysics and philosophy, which is not visible and which requires a somewhat technical analysis, but which Allah’s orders touch directly.
In Islam, it is normal to mate as nature wants but also in submission to God who established these laws. Man needs to eat, let him eat; he has sexual organs to enjoy and procreate, let him enjoy and procreate: “enjoy them (your wives (IV, 24/28), have commerce with them and desire what he has prescribed for you.” This is very clearly the expression of an animal law which puts the act of eating and copulating on the same level. But if it is normal to mate, it should be done by observing “continence” which the Koran calls “control” or “guarding one’s sexual organs.” Believers are thus invited to “lower their gaze” and “watch over their sexual organs.” The invitation applies to everyone, men and women alike.

This means something precise: sexuality is legitimate on the condition that it is restricted; it can only be exercised within the framework of marriage or concubinage with slave women.

“Those who live in continence, except with their wives and slaves, will be honored in the gardens of paradise” (LXXX,29).

There is no need for the long Cartesian deductive chain to reach a conclusion: sexual slavery is perfectly authorized and even rewarded. The Islam of DAESH thus applies the Koran. There are female slaves, and they are authorized by the Koranic text itself, and to enjoy them, with a reward. Why deprive themselves?

There are two points to consider. It may well be that it is impossible for a believing and firmly believing Muslim to hold the sexual act as a highly significant act of communication which engages the whole body, not to say the whole person, since the body is also the soul which is united to it. It is true that the sexual organs can be considered as a kind of metonymy for the whole body. But Islam does not know the spirit, it only knows the letter of the text, because if it admitted the spirit, it would simply have to reflect, and all its prose would crumble under the light of evidence and reason.

It is therefore continence (as Islam conceives it) that opens paradise, not fidelity or the relationship with the wife. Islam cannot reach the idea that Catholic theology has promulgated based on St. Paul: woman is the glory of man and the husband/wife relationship is the visible and analogous figure of the relationship of God and the creature. The human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and it is a desecration to consider it as an object of pleasure and lust.

Islam condemns not only adultery and homosexuality (the Koran enjoins the torture of men who have committed “turpitudes” in pairs) but also prostitution, and a hundred lashes are inflicted on “debauchery (i.e., any act of debauchery) and the debauched.” And those who cannot afford to pay a dowry should simply refrain from sexual acts.

“As for those who have no money to marry, let them choose to remain chaste.”

Can it be a choice when you don’t have money for dowry?

The Koran does not only set up a rigorist and prudish morality which one would end up getting rid of like a used coat: it institutes a specific relationship to sexuality which places the woman in a radically unequal situation, a relationship which moreover destroys the relationship of the man to beauty and to voluptuousness, a healthy voluptuousness. For sexuality is not radically bad; it can simply be perverted, like everything that is good.

As such, the wearing of the veil informs us, in the deepest sense of the term. Of course, except in the perverse case where even the eyes are hidden by a veil (often transparent), it cannot cover the eyes, which must be lowered, an attitude associated with modesty but also with shame. I have seen women in Qatar driving at 130 miles an hour in Doha with this veil on their face.

After all, why cover the whole body if it is enough to watch over the sexual organs?

By themselves, the sexual organs are neither beautiful nor ugly. What is beautiful (or ugly) is the human body. And it is because this human body, when it is young and of beautiful proportions, arouses an aesthetic type of pleasure so that it can arouse sexual desire. If we cover the woman’s body, there is no need for the Muslim man to look down; he can watch over his sexual organs in all serenity because we do not look down on a shapeless mass that is completely covered and looks like a sack of potatoes.

This relationship with sexuality is one of the vicious orientations of Islam, because it implies the repudiation of beauty, and is thus a form of perversion.

The spirit needs enjoyment, to contemplate beautiful things, because the aesthetic sense needs to be awakened and for that it has around it all Creation, which is a marvel: mountains and valleys, rivers and woods, landscapes of infinite variety. And, of course, the pleasure given by the radiance of youth or by the feeling of a life really lived, and of the fragility of human life on a wrinkled face. For lack of this delectation, there remain only the compensatory pleasures of this frustrated sense which is the sense of beauty, intellect and sensibility at the same time: pleasures which satisfy then the raw curiosity, the brutal appetite and the morbid curiosity under the reign of the carnal Venus.

Beauty, which is delectation, implies aesthetic pleasure; and the singular nature of this pleasure is translated in the engaged senses: the sight and the hearing, held traditionally for the highest senses. For it is only in man that there exists the possibility of a pleasure quite distinct from tactile satisfaction. To taste this sense of beauty, one must stop wanting to touch things or take hold of them.

Because, by its very nature, beauty is delectable; it moves desire. And it produces love.

The Greeks saw the essential in telling of the Trojan war. The principle which governs the sensitive life, the life of the sensitive appetite—in potential—is love, which Saint Augustine, a fine psychologist, put at the root of all passions. Saint Thomas Aquinas distinguishes between the affectivity regulated according to reason—the love that leads to a thing by virtue of the fact that it suits us—and the affectivity regulated according to sensitive passion—sensory love, necessarily regulated by an affection. It is the sensory appetite which explains that there is in the man a kind of love which is of purely animal order, love exclusively carnal and intimately bound to the senses, even exclusively governed by the attraction of the senses.

This is why, to the misfortune of the Trojans, it was to Venus that the victory over the two other goddesses belonged. If the beauty of Helen is the terrestrial origin of the Trojan War, the divine origin is the “trifunctional stupidity” of the shepherd prince summoned to choose between the three goddesses. By choosing Venus, Paris shows thereby how much beauty is taken in by the senses and the secret bonds which unite aesthetic pleasure and voluptuousness. He shows that he is a slave to appetite in the choice he makes and which will cost his family dearly. Woman is thus presented as the natural place of beauty, even of voluptuousness. She is in a relation of obedience to beauty, the metaphysicians would say.

That they are or not able to explain it philosophically as I have just tried to do it, men (men and women) feel this node of relations between aesthetic pleasure, voluptuousness, desire and love. It is this complex nucleus that the orders of Allah destroy, destroying the use of reason as the exercise of freedom, and the risk of error that it can generate. And since it is woman who in a general way arouses this feeling and this aesthetic pleasure, therefore this desire, it is necessary to hide this body that one cannot see. But then we break one of the great sources of delight: the beauty of the female body and what it represents—inspiration.

Allah’s orders have made Homer unreadable and plunged a quarter of humanity into a kind of moral distress with no way out. It has forbidden women the happiness of feeling the energy of a young, vigorous body, full of attraction, energy and vitality, of experiencing the joy of noticing that this body is seen, looked at, that it can arouse attraction, desire and therefore the meeting, the exchange, the conversation. It is to deprive women but also young men of the relationship of mutual attraction which constitutes the ground and the spring of the future love relation.

Shakespeare’s Juliet was not a sex offender.

Killing in Islam is a pious act when it comes to jihad. Natural law has no consistency. Allah decides what is right and what is wrong. Allah’s orders are those of an arbitrary God who does not allow man any freedom and who has conceived him as an animal, an animal whose lust and concupiscence must be curbed, an animal that must be put under the yoke.

We do not know Islam. The works to make known the contemporary Muslim world and which pose the problem of its relations with the Western world, support theses inspired by ideologies, most often currently extraordinarily favorable to Islam.

“We have invented to reassure ourselves, two Islams: one open, enlightened, tolerant, peaceful, formalist, preoccupied with rituals and struck by multiple prohibitions; the other obscurantist, closed in on itself, sectarian, fanatical, warlike, that we call fundamentalist or Islamist, which means absolutely nothing; the one authentic—the first—the other deviant and sick—the second. There is only Islam; and it does not have two faces—but only one with multiple facets. The mystic and the terrorist, and all those who fall between these two extremes, have always coexisted and drink from the same sources, the book of God and the person of Muhammad.”

This was written back in 2006.

Three questions arise when faced with this religion: Can the individual, as Islam sees him, fit into Western civilization? Does the image that the Koran and history have drawn of the atheist, the idolater, the Jew and the Christian make it possible or not for the Muslim to fraternize with them? Is society, as Islam conceives it, compatible with Western society in such a way that they can merge into each other?

If the answer to these three questions is no, then the fate of our Christian brothers in the East is seriously compromised. But we already know that, don’t we? And we would know it if the Church of the West had defended its part in the East with the courage that its cause requires, and that it deserves.

Let’s open a world map and look at the Muslim lands, those that apply the Koran, at least officially, between the two extremes of mysticism and terrorism. May God have mercy on the women of Afghanistan, but also on those of Pakistan, and on those of all the Muslim nations that condemn them to a terrible subjugation.

The unnatural alliance of the new anthropologies and Islam (of which we see a figure in what is called Islamo-leftism) is only possible because both of them consider man as an animal. The orders of Allah for all, such is the program of Islam. Opposite, the destruction of what makes our human nature: “Man and woman he created them,” to show another invisible pole of human nature, the sacerdotal, the greatly sacerdotal. There is no priesthood in Islam.

History, which has already given birth to many bloodthirsty monsters, has given birth to Islam and the new programming.

But one does not go against the God of Israel who programmed man for freedom, for beauty and for Him. God, our God, is true, true is His promise, true is His word, true is His salvation. True also is His power. When the God of Christians orders, He says to His prophets: “Go, I will be with you,” “Tell my people”—He gives the choice: “I set before you life and death. Choose life.”

Let us choose life.

Let us choose Him.

Marion Duvauchel is a historian of religions and holds a PhD in philosophy. She has published widely, and has taught in various places, including France, Morocco, Qatar, and Cambodia. She is the founder of the Pteah Barang, in Cambodia.

Featured: Pandora, by John William Waterhouse; painted in 1896.

Armenia: A Threatened Destiny

After the war of 2020, Azerbaijan again militarily attacked Armenia last September amidst widespread international indifference, confirming disturbing ambitions.

“No one can give us an ultimatum and allow Armenians to place their hopes elsewhere. I will say it again—nothing and no one can stop us.” With this statement on September 22, the dictator controlling Azerbaijan in a clannish way, Ilham Aliyev, is exerting his ambitions. In 2020, after a 44-day war, Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, invaded a large part of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia had to accept a precarious cease-fire under the aegis of Russia. This was constantly violated by Azeri troops, and their incursions into Armenian territory. Aliyev was clear in his intentions. Shortly after the ceasefire he explained, “I said we would drive [the Armenians] out of our lands like dogs, and we did.” Under these conditions, the agreement that the civilian populations could return to their lands obviously remained a non-starter for the Armenian populations.

In order to understand the present-day anguish of the Armenians, a detour through history is necessary. When Tsarist Russia annexed the South Caucasus, it quickly adopted a policy that was unfavorable to the Armenians. This policy was taken over by the USSR, as the Bolshevik regime ceded Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh (or Artsakh with a clear Armenian majority) to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan and not to that of Armenia.

In the context of the collapse of the USSR, following pogroms of the Armenian population in Sumgait and Baku, and an Azerbaijani desire to “disarm” Artsakh through a racist and discriminatory policy, Artsakh proclaimed its self-determination. In a five-year war, the heroism of Armenian fighters led to the liberation of Artsakh and the establishment of a continuous territory between Artsakh and Armenia in 1994. However, during the fifteen years that followed, Azerbaijan’s position was strengthened by the oil from the Caspian Sea and a dynamic demography.

In this context, the Azeri offensive of September 2022—which killed more than 300 people—shows that Azeri ambitions do not stop at Artsakh. As Tigrane Yegavian lucidly puts it, the aim of Azerbaijan and Turkey is now to nibble away at Armenian territory in order to reduce Armenia to a rump state before making it disappear. Such an offensive has a genocidal purpose, the aim being to eliminate all Armenian presence in the Caucasus.

The fate of the Armenian heritage in Nakhichevan is a good indicator of the threat. The 89 medieval churches have been demolished, 5,480 khachkars (rectangular steles with the Armenian cross which, in Armenian tradition, are used to guide the dead when they rise on Judgment Day) and 22,700 graves have been destroyed by Azerbaijan. Reports from Armenian Heritage in occupied Artsakh are equally disturbing. Finally, the abuses committed by Azeri soldiers on the Armenian civilian population and on prisoners of war clearly show an Azeri desire to exterminate this population. During the last offensive, Anush Apetyan, a 36-year-old Armenian soldier and mother of three children, captured by Azeri soldiers, was raped, dismembered and executed. Her executioners, sure of their impunity, broadcast their crime themselves, which is part of a policy of structural Armenophobia on the part of the regime in Baku.

Such a threat to Armenia is clearly encouraged by Erdogan’s Turkey, which supports Azerbaijan because of Pan-Turkism and an ethno-religious mixture of Turkish nationalism and Islamism. Turkey’s expansionist ambitions are supported by omnipresent propaganda in its films and historical series (despite a few courageous exceptions that go against the grain, such as the series The Club) and by a policy of influence over the Turkish diaspora in Europe. This policy is also approved by Erdogan’s Kemalist opponents (the only opposing party being the HDP, a predominantly Kurdish party that brings together the Turkish electorate that rejects the Turkish-Islamist synthesis and Kemalism).

To speak about what is happening in Armenia, and not to forget it, is more necessary than ever. And to dedicate ourselves so that our leaders become aware of the Turkish threat and act accordingly. So, we can only welcome the publication, under the direction of Éric Denécé and Tigrane Yégavian, of Haut-Karabakh: Le livre noir (The Black Book of Nagorno-Karabakh) and the beginning of mobilization in the French political class, hoping that it will not be just a flash in the pan.

Rainer Leonhardt

The Goal is to Strangle Armenia

Interview with Tigrane Yégavian who has just co-edited Haut-Karabakh: Le livre noir (The Black Book of Nagorno-Karabakh)

Rainer Leonhardt (RL): How should we interpret the new Azeri offensive of September 2022?

Tigrane Yegavian (TY): Since the ceasefire of November 2020, Azerbaijan has been pursuing the war by other means because it is motivated by the desire to consolidate its military advantage at the political level. With the balance of power tipped in its favor and Armenia weaker than ever, the Azeri-Turkish tandem is also taking advantage of Russian setbacks in Ukraine to force Armenia to give in on the following points:

  • renunciation of a status for Nagorno-Karabakh, which means accepting its annexation by Azerbaijan and the certainty of ethnic cleansing
  • and the establishment of an extraterritorial corridor outside Armenia’s sovereignty in the south of its territory. An ultra-strategic corridor that would link Azerbaijan to Turkey and cut Armenia off from Iran; a new route of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that would allow the Azeris to nibble away more Armenian territory, relying on the strategy of the fait accompli, given that they have been occupying a hundred square kilometers of Armenian territory since their successive offensives of May 2021 and especially September 2022.

In short, to devitalize Armenia, to make it a non-viable country, and in the long run to strangle it completely.

Tigrane Yegavian (Credit: DiasporArm.org).

RL: What are the perspectives of Armenia? And is there any reason to hope via, for example, a rapprochement with the other countries targeted by Turkish expansionism like Greece?

TY: As far as I know, Armenia has no allies. It is on the “wrong side” unlike Ukraine, while its CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) partners, all of them despotic regimes, are clearly on the side of Azerbaijan. Russia acts more like a suzerain, sometimes protector, sometimes pimp, as long as its interests are at stake. While Cyprus and Greece have never failed to show solidarity with Armenia, which is threatened by Pan-Turkism, these two states do not have sufficient leverage within the EU and NATO. Outside the Russian orbit, the only country that can provide both political and military support in the region is not Iran, but India, which shares a common geostrategic vision with Armenia in relation to Pakistan’s alignment with Pan-Turkism and sees Armenia as a route for its competing project with China’s New Silk Roads.

RL: How should the actions of Russia and the USA be interpreted in relation to the Azeri offensives?

TY: The United States is taking advantage of the Russians’ position of weakness to advance its interests in the Caucasus. For the time being, they are putting pressure on Azerbaijan not to invade Armenian territory, without offering military assistance to Yerevan. The Trump administration was not interested in any of this. Today the deal is not the same because we are witnessing the return of the geopolitics of empires: Russians and Turks share areas of influence in their competitive cooperation, Armenia is only a bargaining chip, a pawn on a chessboard that extends from Libya to Central Asia through Syria.

RL: Does the rapprochement between the EU and Azerbaijan over gas leave Aliyev’s hands free?

TY: After demonizing the master of the Kremlin, a de-Christianized Europe without a compass has chosen to sell its soul to a bloodthirsty dictator who has made Armenophobia his raison d’être. Aliyev understands well that he can play this card, and above all that his past, present and future crimes will remain unpunished. If France has tried to help the Armenians, it has been blocked by Germany within the EU, and by the United Kingdom within NATO, which maintains extremely close relations with the regime in Baku. We are living through yet another chapter of the great game, and the Armenians are struggling to negotiate their survival in an environment that is increasingly hostile to them, while the Europeans have no intention of curbing the appetites of the Aliyev-Erdogan tag-team.

Featured: “Battle of Vardanank,” by Grigor Khanjyan; painted 1995-1998. [This interview appears through the kind courtesy of La Nef].

Iran: “Hijab Crisis,” Or Color Revolution?

In Iran, riots and mass protests continue for a third week. The Western globalist media wrote that this was caused by the death of Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly killed by the vice squad for not wearing a headscarf (in Iran, girls and women are required by law to cover their heads). However, according to official reports, she suffered a heart attack at the police station [vax status? Ed]. She was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved. The rest of the details are not known, because the situation began to deteriorate rapidly. In addition, a large number of fakes appeared on social networks and in foreign publications.

The incident with the girl occurred on September 16. By September 18, mass protests and riots began. A security officer was killed by a mob of unidentified people, and four young Iranians were also killed by protesters during the clashes. Clearly, the situation was deliberately escalating.

In the following days, the protests spread to a number of cities in Iran. Women were demonstratively tearing scarves from their heads. There were reports of weapons being seized. A video shared on social media showed rioters throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars and beating police officers. Footage has also emerged of the crowd chanting “Long Live Shah Pahlavi.” Such chants are surprising because the vast majority of Iranians today don’t remember the times of the Pahlavi dynasty (the Shah fled the country during the 1979 Islamic Revolution; and it was the repressive nature of the Shah’s regime that was the key to that Revolution’s success).

This scenario resembles the events in Libya which also began with a small incident and then developed into political actions (monarchist banners appeared immediately), and then civil war. Similar developments also took place in Iran, during the presidential elections, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was running for a second term.

After Mahsa Amini’s death, the “green movement” in Iran, by way of social networks, called for mobilization and mass protests. By September 22, it was known that 61 ambulances had been destroyed by vandals. By the second week, more than forty deaths were known. By the third week, the number of victims was close to a hundred.

Hijab Riots

Across Iran, ordinary women and public figures, including Iranian actresses, removed their headscarves in protest or cut their hair in public to show solidarity with the demonstrators. We do not have complete statistics on criminal and misdemeanor crimes in Iran. However, we can assume that there are the usual incidents, with the deaths of offenders, as well as cases of abuse of power by members of the executive branch. But in this case there is a deliberate promotion of the theme of “the victim and the bad officials.” In general, the Arab Spring in Tunisia began with a similar episode. In the case of Iran, it is also indicative that the protesters are not demanding to “get the culprits,” but are blaming the authorities in general; that is, their actions are directed against the Supreme Leader of Iran and the rahbar institution, which represents the spiritual authorities that are above secular bodies.

Leaving aside the emotional factor, as well as the socio-political turmoil in Iran (which is less than it was a year ago), one should pay attention to the geopolitical context and international relations. In Iran, the wave of protests began immediately after the SCO summit in Samarkand, where Iran was accepted as a full member of the organization.

In addition, Iran is currently working on adjusting a number of laws in accordance with the norms of the EAEU, in order to move from a free trade zone to full membership. Numerous agreements have been signed with Russia, including the supply of natural gas to Iran and the use of the country for transit to the neighboring Republic of Pakistan, which is also interested in Russian energy resources. Cooperation in infrastructure and military-technical cooperation is also being enhanced. The appearance of Iranian kamikaze drones by the Russian army conducting the operation in Ukraine has also changed the situation on the front in favor of Russia.

Let us note another interesting fact: Albania officially severed diplomatic relations with Iran. The reason given was a cyber attack that allegedly had been carried out by Iranian special services on the infrastructure of Albania. But, in fact, this is a double-edged case. There are training camps in Albanian territory of the terrorist organization, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, who advocate the overthrow of the Iranian government. In particular, they spread propaganda and conduct cyber operations against Iran. It is likely that retaliation by Iranian security forces, or hackers, against the Mojahedin Organization servers led to cascading effects that affected other elements of critical infrastructure. Microsoft was involved in the investigation of the cyber incident in Albania.

In addition, the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is nearing resolution. Russia fully supports Tehran on this issue. The EU states are also interested in returning to the state of affairs before the imposition of new sanctions by the U.S. Only Washington is still stubborn, which is explained by the close ties between the U.S. and Israel. Normalization of relations has also been noted with Saudi Arabia, a longtime antagonist of Iran. Taken together, these factors indicate a significant strengthening of Iran in the region in recent times, despite continuing U.S. sanctions.

This raises the question—who benefits from a crisis or coup d’état in Iran?

Neighboring Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Iraq are hardly interested in a serious deterioration of the political climate in their neighboring country, because any unrest could spill over to them. But there are other actors who would benefit from any crisis in Iran.

First of all, Israel, Britain and the United States are not interested in increasing the role and status of Iran. Israel and the U.S. have been outspoken about the need to overthrow the “ayatollah regime” in Iran. For Israel, because of security and ties of Palestinian groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah to the Iranian government. The U.S., because of the idée fixe of establishing a Western liberal democracy.

We should add that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Representatives of this organization are constantly and groundlessly accused by Washington of planning and organizing unlawful acts and threatening U.S. interests.

Finally, the victim-heroine of the protests was a native of the Kurdish region of Iran, which adds both a regional and Kurdish factor to the story, since a number of Kurdish organizations have subversive activities against the Iranian government, from political propaganda to organizing attacks on border guards and security forces. Given the long-standing Israeli and U.S. ties with the Kurds of Iraq, as well as the ability to manipulate social networks, we can assume that those concerned would be unlikely to miss the chance to use the girl’s death to foment discontent and social unrest.

In addition, the level and experience of the intelligence services of the above states allows us to conclude that only these three countries can conduct an operation of this level in another state. Reliable sources in Iran report increased activity of Zionist and Western propaganda inside Iran. A chain reaction has begun. These events will obviously go down in history as another attempt at a color revolution.

Leonid Savin, is Editor-in-Chief of the Geopolitika.ru Analytical Center, General Director of the Cultural and Territorial Spaces Monitoring and Forecasting Foundation and Head of the International Eurasia Movement Administration. This article appears through the kind courtesy of the Oriental Review.