Malek Chebel – Algeria & France

Malek Chebel was born in the Algerian town of Constantine in 1953. He studied in Algeria until 1980 and then in Paris, where he now lives. As a psychologist, anthropologist and sexologist, an indefatigable archaeologist of the world of the Arabian and Islamic imagination, he has published major works on the real and imaginary Arabic world of Islam: ‘Le corps dans la tradition au Maghreb’, ‘La Formation de l’identité politique’, ‘L’Esprit de sérail’, ‘La Féminisation du monde’, ‘L’Encyclopédie de l’amour en Islam’, ‘Dictionnaire des symboles musulmans’, ‘Traité du raffinement’, Payot, 1999, etc.

He is an advocate of plain language and his preference is for highly meticulous analyses and rational arguments. He endeavours to gain a better knowledge of the basic writings of Islamic culture by studying them academically. Click on the links and listen to his speaks … (full text).

He says: “In France, Muslim girls want to wear the veil at school, whereas in Qatar, 200 girls demonstrated to be allowed to go to school without a veil … and: A Muslim Cleric is Better Received When He Speaks to People Who Are Frustrated and Have No Prospect of Sensual Pleasure”.

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Malek Chebel – Algeria & France

Manifeste pour un Islam des lumières (Broché), de Malek Chebel (Auteur).

He says also: ”Europe is too lenient with Islamists … Fundamentalist Muslims are true fanatics. They consider progress the enemy of Islam [...] They are narrow-minded ideologues who use the Koran to achieve sinister political aims … We must acknowledge that it is European, Western and modern countries that grant Islam the possibility to express itself, whereas at the same time, the sharia is being strongly fought against in a few Arab countries … As a Muslim, I feel more protected by the higher democratic principle of the [secular] nation-state than by the sharia, which is interpreted by the religious authorities as they wish, sometimes according to their moods … Sharia has never been a model of good governance in the Arab world. In any case, it must be separated from the political sphere … Too much space is given to Islamists in the media. The more space you give to fundamentalist Islam, the less there is for enlightened Islam. And it is the latter you need in order to live. Only enlightened Islam is compatible with world civilization, with Europe, and with the spirit of the [French] Republic. But times are difficult for moderate people”. (full text).

Hope for reforming Islam? May 06, 2006.

The French monthly Afrique Magazine conducted an interview with Algerian scholar and author Dr. Malek Chebel following the publishing of his latest book, The Arab Kama Sutra. In the interview, the author claims that the puritan tendency in Islam is a recent innovation, and that classic Islamic literature freely treated not only romantic love, but also sex and eroticism. He also discusses his views on the veil, pleasure marriages, honor crimes, polygamy, and ritual purity. The following are excerpts … (full text).

Read: Islam is the Only Monotheistic Religion That Advocates Free and Spontaneous Access to Sexuality.

Chebel has published some 20 books on Islam, in which he has frequently dealt with sensitive and uncommon subjects, such as love in Islam: He claims that Islam is a sensuous religion and condemns the strict fundamentalist approach to relations between men and women. He has also tackled such taboos as wine and homosexuality in Islam. His publications include a Love Dictionary of Islam (Plon, 2004) and an Encyclopedia of Love in Islam (Payot, 1995). His other main focus is reform of Islam, to which he has dedicated two major books: Islam and Reason: The Struggle of Ideas (Perrin, 2005), and Manifesto for an Enlightened Islam (Hachette, 2004). He made also 27 Proposals for Reforming Islam. In his introduction to his book Manifesto for an Enlightened Islam, Chebel clarifies several things. One of them is that he genuinely loves Islam and therefore is entitled to suggest reform proposals. Chebel makes it clear that he did not intend the book to be just another book on Islam, but rather that it put forth concrete proposals – 27 of them – that will pave the way for the current reform movement in the Arab world. The expression “enlightened Islam” aims at showing that Islam is not forever against progress. He further explains that there are two approaches in the Muslim world today regarding the widespread phenomenon of dictatorship. One of them is to do nothing. This is the approach of the majority of Muslims, who lack knowledge and whose knowledge of the religion is limited to what the imams tell them. The second approach is that of turning to Islamism as a reaction to the dictatorship of regimes – and once they turn to Islamism, youths from all social strata may even sacrifice their lives for beliefs. The following are Chebel’s propositions: … (full text).

Malek Chebel, Der Islam und die Vernunft, Kampf der Ideen mit der Orthodoxie.
Listen to the following videos:

His books in english:

Ses livres en français:

D’autres texts en français:

Malek Chebel est un psychanalyste, anthropologue, philosophe et islamologue algérien. Il a étudié en Algérie, puis en France à Paris, où il a également étudié la psychanalyse. Il est aujourd’hui psychanalyste à Paris. Il a enseigné dans de nombreuses universités à travers le monde. Il est connu pour sa réflexion sur l’islam, sa culture, son histoire, sa vie intellectuelle, son érotisme. Il est également connu pour ses prises de position publiques en faveur d’un islam libéral et en faveur d’une réforme de l’islam incluant certains aspects positifs de la modernité politique. (full text).

Malek Chebel, réhabiliter l’islam … et il disait aussi: celui qui amène au monde l’algèbre, l’arithmétique, la parfumerie, une gastronomie brillante, une musique, une maison de la sagesse et qui s’occupe de cosmologie, fondée sur la raison, sur les connaissances et le travail, sur l’échange et le respect d’autrui. J’ai essayé de montrer que l’islam est plus humain qu’on ne le pense, il est plus accessible, plus proche de nous, il parle au cœur, à l’émotion et n’est pas là pour semer la terreur dans le monde.

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