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Roger Garaudy, renowned French Muslim thinker, passes away

Sunday June 17, 2012 09:29:37 AM, IINA

Paris: World renowned French Muslim thinker Roger Garaudy died on Thursday in the Paris suburb of Chennevieres after prolonged illness. He was 99. He will be laid to rest on Monday in Paris.


Formerly a prominent communist author, he converted to Islam and wrote several books which have been controversial due to his anti-Zionist positions and denial of the Holocaust.


Widely acclaimed as the most important international Muslim cultural personality of the 20th century, Garaudy was the winner of several prestigious awards, including the King Faisal International Prize for Services to Islam in 1986.


His masterpiece – Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne – was the most controversial because of his boldness to deny the Holocaust by calling it a myth and that it had not taken place.

Garaudy was born to Catholic and atheist parents in Marseilleson July 17, 1913. He converted at age 14 and became a Protestant. During World War II, Garaudy joined the French Resistance, for which he was imprisoned in Djelfa, Algeriaas a prisoner of war of VichyFrance.


Following the war, Garaudy joined the French Communist Party. As a political candidate he succeeded in being elected to the National Assembly and eventually rose to the position of deputy speaker, and later senator. He became a leading party theoretician for the FCP and authored scores of scholarly works.

Garaudy remained a Christian and eventually re-converted to Catholicism during his political career. In 1970, Garaudy was expelled from the Communist Party following his outspoken criticism of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.


Garaudy converted to Islam in1982, later writing that “The Christ of Paul is not the Jesus of the Bible,” and also forming other critical scholarly conclusions regarding the Old and New Testaments. As a Muslim he adopted the name “Ragaa” and became a prominent Islamic commentator and supporter of the Palestinian cause.

Garaudy authored more than 50 books, mainly on political philosophy and Marxism. In 1996 Garaudy published his most controversial work, Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne, later translated into English as The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. Because the book contained Holocaust denial, French courts banned any further publication and on 27 February 1998 fined him 240,000 French francs. He was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of several years.

Following his trial and conviction in France, Garaudy was hailed in the Muslim world and received substantial public support. In Iran, 160 members of the parliament signed a petition in Garaudy’s support. Senior Iranian officials invited him to Tehran and received him warmly. Iranian leaders condemned Israel and the West for bringing Garaudy to trial. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei cited Garaudy for his work in exposing the Zionists’ “Nazi-like behavior.”

Garaudy has been hailed throughout the Islamic World as “the most important international cultural personality of the 20th century,” “Europe’s greater philosopher since Plato and Aristotle.”


Even in recent interviews, Garaudy repeated his claim that the Holocaust is a myth, stating that the genocide of Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War was “invented as a myth by Churchill, Eisenhower and De Gaulle to justify the destruction and occupation of Germany. In December 2006 Garaudy was unable to attend the international conference to review the global vision of the Holocaust due to health reasons.











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