Sunday, May 14, 2006


Lafif Lakhdar International Defense Committee

Comité International de Défense de Lafif Lakhdar

بريد: Contact:

Reference: 1/2005

Today, we are excited to announce the creation of
Lafif Lakhdar International Defense Committee

Why, what are we trying to accomplish, and who are we?

Recently, the London-based Islamic Al Nahdha group led by sheik Rached Ghannouchi, falsely accused on its web site ( the prominent Tunisian writer, Lafif Lakhdar, of authoring an irreverent book towards the Prophet.
The accusation took the form of a criminal Fatwa (a religious edict pronounced by a cleric), which is a straightforward incitement to kill the author.

During the last two decades alone, several liberal intellectuals have been the victims of similar fatwas. The murder of writer Farag Foudah and the stabbing of Nobel Laureate Neguib Mahfoudh, both from Egypt, are but few examples.

Upon becoming aware of the Fatwa, Mr. Lafif Lakhdar vehemently denied the accusation of authoring the book, and called on all who value the fundamental freedoms of thought and of expression to help him in bringing the Islamist leader Ghannouchi to justice.
Several web sites reverberated Lafif‘s call, hundreds of enthusiastic people from many countries sent him supportive messages. As the campaign of support gathered momentum, and more people rallied around Lafif, sheik Ghannouchi started feeling the heat; knowing that he cannot back up his accusation (because he fabricated it) he withdrew the incriminating article from his web site. This withdrawal represents only a small victory. It is a victory for all who long for or cherish freedom, and value enlightenment over obscurantism. However, the fatwa has not been revoked, and sheik Ghannouchi has not felt or expressed remorse. The real victory will come when Ghannouchi stands in front of a judge in a British court.

Today, the newly formed Lafif Lakhdar International Defense Committee, echoes Lafif’s call, thanks all who expressed their support, and encourage them to continue the drive to bring Ghannouchi to Justice, and uphold the rule of the law against the rule of the jungle of obscurantism.

The Committee urges the French authorities to provide appropriate protection to Lafif Lakhdar who lives in France, and the British authorities to investigate the illegal activities of the Nahdha group and its leader.

We in the LLIDC, are from different countries, cultures, religions, gender, and professions; and welcome you, particularly those who can contribute furthering this cause with the French authorities and the British legal system, to join us.
We are united by this just and noble cause to defend one of the few bright candles in the Arab world from a looming peril of the rampant obscurantism.

Lafif Lakhdar has dedicated his entire life to defend the oppressed and the dispossessed; he has been a tireless activist for the emancipation and freedom of people in the large Arab world. He argued for a modern Islam where women are equal to men and non-Muslims to Muslims. He has always believed that human beings, if liberated from obscurantism, tyranny, and ignorance, are capable of growing wings and soar in the sky with the birds.

Ghannouchi ‘s attack on the prominent free thinker Lafif Lakhdar is an attack on all of us who believe in freedom and democracy, and who whish for a better and brighter future for our region, and more peace and justice for the world. We stand in solidarity with Lafif, and call on every one of you, to do all you can, each according to her / his position and situation, to help bringing Ghannouchi to justice.

We Invite Activist legal groups in the United Kingdom, and international organizations like International Human Rights, Pen International, Lawyers Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others, to support this cause, because it is also your cause.

Please email us at:

For further information on the subject, here is a short list of links:

The Role of Fatwas in Incitement to Terrorism

A Call on the UN to Establish an International tribunal to prosecute terrorists

Moving From Salafi to Rationalist Education

The Missed Opportunity of July 2000 and Its Consequences

Liberal Journalist Fired from Al-Hayat

An Arab call for Peace

Impious, adulterous - Why the Reversion to Islamic Archaism? Lafif Lakhdar (1981)

Dr. Abu Khawla,
Committee Coordinator


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