Si peu de fanatiques dans l'Islam

La prédominance de l'Islam conservateur au Moyen-Orient reflète une réalité fondamentale de la société musulmane. Mais ce conservatisme ne doit pas être confondu avec le radicalisme violent, comme l'a malheureusement fait l'Amérique. Bien que le conservatisme domine majoritairement la “rue arabe” (et la rue persane), cela ne signifie pas que violence et terrorisme vont inévitablement régner sur la région.

Une récente étude publiée à Damas par le Centre d'études islamiques indique que les conservateurs constituent environ 80% de la population islamique du Moyen-Orient. Les réformateurs constituent la majorité des 20% restants. Quant aux radicaux, ils ne peuvent pas compter sur le soutien de plus de 1% de la population. De mon point de vue, ces proportions approximatives sont restées stables au cours de dix siècles d'histoire de l'Islam, à quelques différences près.

Une terminologie islamique a été établie pour décrire ces différences. Les radicaux sont tout d'abord apparus comme des “Khawarij,” un groupe fanatique datant du premier siècle de l'Islam, qui utilisait des accusations de blasphème, et la violence, pour supprimer même les plus petites divergences d'opinion. Les conservateurs d'aujourd'hui sont connus parmi les érudits religieux comme le “peuple de la lettre” – ceux qui adhèrent à la lettre des textes islamiques. Les réformateurs, comme on les appelle aujourd'hui, sont l'équivalent du “peuple de l'intellect.”

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