Man held over death threats against Islam critic

18th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 17, 2006 (AFP) - French police are holding a man accused of sending a death threat to a philosophy teacher who was forced into hiding after writing an article critical of Islam, justice officials said Tuesday.

PARIS, Oct 17, 2006 (AFP) - French police are holding a man accused of sending a death threat to a philosophy teacher who was forced into hiding after writing an article critical of Islam, justice officials said Tuesday.

Arrested on Monday in the central city of Orleans, the 25-year-old call-centre employee was held for 24 hours by anti-terrorist investigators, who found no evidence he was linked to a terrorist organisation.

Remanded in custody, he faces up to five years in jail for "aggravated threats" over a threatening e-mail he sent last month to Robert Redeker, a 52-year-old father of three who teaches in southwestern Toulouse.

Though a practising Muslim, the suspect apparently has no links to Islamic extremism, according to police who said he acted alone out of "hatred" for the author.

Redeker is receiving round-the-clock police protection and changing address every two days after receiving death threats for his September 19 article in the right-wing daily Le Figaro.

In it he described the Koran as a "book of extraordinary violence" and Islam as "a religion which ... exalts violence and hate".

Redeker's supporters have compared him to British writer Salman Rushie, hounded across the planet over his book "The Satanic Verses", and to Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh, murdered by an Islamic radical in Amsterdam in 2004.

The teacher, who has published several books of philosophy, wrote his article in reaction to the fury unleashed in Muslim countries by Pope Benedict XVI's references to Islam in an address in Germany last month.

Likening Islam to communism, Redeker said that "violence and intimidation are the methods used by an expansionist ideology ... to impose its leaden cloak on the world".

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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