Middle East Resources

The Return of “Religion” Among the Young Is a Time-Bomb

Hamid Zanaz : Le retour du religieux parmi les jeunes est « une bombe à retardement »

Publié par Mireille Vallette le 8 décembre 2016


Translation & Comments by Bassam Michael Madany

April 2017

The Swiss human rights activist, Mireille Valette, published her Interview with Hamid Zanaz, an Algerian essayist and philosopher, on the 8th of December 2016. The following is my translation of the Interview, posted on Ms. Vallette’s website.

In his new book, Hamid Zanaz covers themes related to the future of Islam. Both for Algeria and France, the outlook looks dim. This work is a pot-pourri of interviews, done in French or in Arabic, between 2009 and 2016. Even after Wafa Sultan’s book[i], it’s not out of place. Rather than citing texts from the Qur’an and the Hadith, he focuses his analysis on Islam, as a faith and a political ideology.

The combat theater, as Hamid Zanaz informed me during the brief interview, is the Arab world. In his book, “In Praise of Reason,” he targets Islam with virulence. In France, the book was completely ignored by the “virtuous” circle of the media! In contrast, the Algerian press reviewed it with great praise, even in a newspaper of Le Monde’s type. What a strange paradox!

Zanaz was in Algeria recently to introduce his book. Oh, how he loved the warm weather, the sea, his family. I asked him if he walked around without fear; and were his father, mother, brothers, and sisters, exposed to any persecution on his account?

“No, and then added, Algeria’s Islamization is in a sense, of a ‘sweet’ type. There are no assassinations for religious reasons. Violence is not physical, but moral. After the many years of killings that the population lived through, this tranquility is very welcome.”[ii]  

The book is dedicated to the victims of the Civil War: “In Remembrance of the victims of barbaric Jihadism, and to all who are fighting the Islamization of our existence.”

Other themes are covered, such as the Algeria where he once had lived before moving to France, the impossibility of reforming Islam, and the otherworldliness of the political authorities. Analyzing the situation in the Islamized Algeria, one gets the impression of being inside a mosque. Nothing against religion, nothing outside religion, everything within religion!

If a Muslim is proud, it’s because of who he is, and not because of what he does. Instead of striving to be what he should become, he would rather remain as he had always been. He leads a life of an arrested development. He is just a survivor.

Reflecting on his past and his upbringing, Hamid’s analysis becomes radical!

Over my lifetime, I’ve learned everything! How to perform my ablutions, how to pray, to fast, to defend Islam, even how to wash the dead before their burial. I really wonder how I’ve ever escaped falling into Islamism, after all that brainwashing!

Every good Muslim is guilt-ridden for failing to establish the Islamic State, either by persuasion, or through violence. A Muslim remains mired in the sacred, in the forbidden, in the halal, in Paradise, in Hell; and paralyzed by the mere thought of the torments of the tomb. What a miserable conscience to carry!           

In a previous book, “Reforming Islam? An Autopsy of a Characterized Illusion,” Zanaz stated: A Reformed Islam, is the End of Islam. To be a fundamentalist, is to go to the extreme of one’s faith. Islam is in its essence, a totalitarian religion. Therefore, it’s difficult to differentiate between Islamism and moderate Islam.

For example, who among the moderates is calling for the abrogation of the texts that are hostile to Jews, to atheists, and to Christians? Moderate Islamism is a chimera. Is there such a thing as a moderate Fascism? Can we talk about Nazism lite? The source of all the problems, and the impossibility to reform Islam, remains the concept of the Qur’an as a direct word of God.[iii]

Commenting about Islam’s presence in the West, Zanaz states:

In the West, the mosque is not simply a place of worship. It’s a place to make of the young Muslims true believers, preparing them to become soldiers of Islam. Advocating the expansion of Islam, is its key role. If nothing is done to stop this expansion, and if concessions by the West, continue to be made, Muslims’ demands would grow, including polygamy, application of the Qur’anic penal laws in areas where Muslims have become a majority. To sum up: the return to religion among the young is a “Time-Bomb” ready to explode in the face of all those unwilling to say no to the mounting demands of the Islamists.

Back to his native Algeria, Zanaz states: By re-discovering Islam, Algeria has rejected modernity. Until the end of the 1980s, Algerians were still living within modernity. The Algeria of my youth was so different from today’s Algeria. Now that Algerians have encountered Islam in its sacred books, and in the radicals’ teachings, they attempt to re-Islamize their lives. Thus, they’ve rejected modernity, since it’s opposed to true Islam. Religion and irrationality have taken over their lives. Nothing less than a mental revolution would be able to diffuse the time-bomb of the Sharia, which has been ticking for a long time, ready to explode in the very heart of all the Islamic countries.                                                                 

Right for reproduction : Reproduction autorisée avec la mention suivante : © Mireille Vallette pour Dreuz.info.


There is no dearth of books or articles dealing with radical Islam, written by Western authors. What distinguishes the work of the nationals’ analysis and critique of Islamism, is the fact that they write from within their experienced cultural milieu. They can’t be charged with bias that has often been leveled against Orientalists. For example, Hamid Zanaz has such colleagues as the Moroccan, Sa’eed Nasheed, author of “Modernity and the Qur’an. "

Mr. Nasheed sets forth two important theses: First, while he accepts the Qur’an as divine revelation, he rejects the commonly accepted view that the sacred Arabic text is to be equated with Allah’s very words. Rather, the divine revelation was “filtered” through Muhammad’s personality. Second, the author offers a narrow and limited concept of Islam, namely that it consists “in the call for “Tawhid” (Strict unity of Allah) and the adoption of an ethic of love and tolerance.” Nasheed denies that the role of revelation is to legislate laws; rather it functions as a guide “in the worship of Allah.”


Going back to the thoughts of Hamid Zanaz, you can read a previous Interview by Mireille Valette, “The Impact of Islam on European Life.”


In 2014, Hamid Zanaz published a book in French,

Islamism as Told (Explained) to My Daughter” It is reviewed on:



[i] A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-53836-1.


[ii] The Algerian Civil War was an armed conflict between the Algerian Government and various Islamic rebel groups which began in 1991 following a coup negating an Islamist electoral victory. It lasted for several years and cos the lives of thousands of Algerians. The rebels adopted the name of, FRONT ISLAMIQUE DU SALUT (FIS) Islamic Salvation Front.


[iii] Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

Translation of Arberry. Qur’an, Surah Repentance 9:5