Could a German best-seller on Islam not be published in the country of Voltaire? Piranha editions had announced the translation of Islamic Fascism that was due to appear next 16 September. An "analysis" of the German-Egyptian Hamed Abdel-Samad who draws parallels between fascist and Islamist ideology, the Muslim Brotherhood (which appeared in the 1920s) going back to the roots of the Koran. The author, the son of an imam and a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has become a critic of Islam featuring heavily in the media in Germany, and for that reason he lives under police protection following fatwas for heresy and death threats from jihadists. The decision has caused an uproar in the German press, which notes that the essay was published in Germany by a major publishing house (Droemer Knaur) and that an English translation appeared in the USA at the start of January without problems.
Jean-Marc Loubet, the director of Piranha, admitted to Le Point that he had acquired the rights to the work two years ago, but that the context "has changed with the multiplication of attacks." "At the time, it seemed like an iconoclastic book that could spark debate, even if we didn't necessarily share its ideas and it could lead to a historical simplification of Islam. But, after Nice, I have seen polemics increase among politicians and words of hatred for Muslims. That has freed things up..." The publisher, who received "unanimous" support from his small team, defends himself against the charge of self-censorship, explaining that the book already exists in German and English. "I feel sorry for the author, but his book should quickly find a new publisher in France."
Hamed Abdel-Samad understands the security argument. "It's easier to target a small publishing house that doesn't have the resources to provide protection at its door," he explains to us. "If Jean-Marc Loubet had finished his email there, I would have said OK and accepted this withdrawal without problems. I live under police protection, I've received death threats, and I can't ask other people to take the same risk. I take this risk because I believe strongly that being fearful in the face of threats will not fix things. On the contrary, the more we are silent and the more afraid we are, the more brutal the Islamists will be, because they only operate according to this logic: kill and frighten. It is the strategy of terrorism. But I would have understood the decision of Jean-Marc Loubet, because it's a question of life and death."
On the other hand, the author is furious about the second justification offered by Piranha. "Jean-Marc wrote that he didn't want to provide fuel for the far right. That is the typical argument of moral blackmail that I constantly find myself confronted with. I am a free thinker, who doesn't call for violence, who doesn't stigmatise Muslims - on the contrary, I defend them as human beings - , but who attacks an ideology I consider violent. In Germany, I have the right, more than 200 years after Kant and 230 years after Voltaire, to publish these thoughts without having to be afraid and terrified. This is why I am so angry. I find it a very dangerous way of thinking, particularly from a publishing house, which, more than any other profession, ought to be the guarantor of high-quality debates and freedom of expression."Source