Allah is the Light
Among the believers there are people who are true in their promise to God. Some of them have already passed away and some of them are waiting. They never yield to any change. (33:23)
Childhood and Youth
Roger Garaudy was born in Marseille on 17 July, 1913. His mother was a Catholic and steadfast in her faith, while his father didn’t believe in any religion and was secular. Garaudy was brought up in a family where people freely talked about their beliefs.
As a teenager, he was a Protestant, but after a while, when he found out about “unconditional values”, he started reading the works of Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish author, and turned to Catholicism again. It was in those years that Garaudy became both acquainted with and interested in Marxism; however, he was still constant in his faith and unwilling to give up on religious beliefs.
After finishing High School, Garaudy studied philosophy, and at 20, joined the French Communist Party. His joining the Christian-Communist Dialogue in the 1960s kindled his interest in religion and gradually led him to Catholicism in the 1970s.
Converting to Islam
When studying philosophy, Garaudy was acquainted with Islamic philosophy, and as a result, with Islamic culture and civilization; but this was not the chief reason why he began to have a tendency towards Islam and later converted to it. He said thus about his attachment to Islamic teachings: “I was a member of a group of the French military who fought against Algerians during the Algerian revolution of the 1960. I was caught by a number of Muslim fighters as a prisoner of war. Their commander had ordered one of the fighters to execute me in the mountains. When I was alone there with that fighter, he asked me if I was armed, and when I answered that I wasn’t, he said: ‘How can I kill someone who is unarmed?’ And so he set me free. What happened there remained for years in my heart and mind and finally, I started studying about Islam, and then I knew for sure that it was Islamic faith and morality which inspired that fighter to treat me such. This experience played the most important role in my conversion, which moved the whole world for me.”
Garaudy believed that Islam is a religion from God and a complement to other Abrahamic religions. He had already thoroughly studied the other living religions of the world, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism. Eventually in 1982 and in the Islamic Cultural Foundation of Geneva, he announced his conversion to Islam, as he said, in order to “find what he was missing”.
A year before his conversion, he published a book titled The Promises of Islam, in which he discusses Islam’s views on personal development and eternal happiness.
Garaudy took a close look at the issues of the Islamic world; he paid special attention to the issue of Palestine. After much study, he found that the Zionists based their claim to the occupation of Palestinian land on beliefs that were fundamentally of no historical or legal value. It was after realizing this that Garaudy began writing his most famous work. It took him more than a decade to gather evidence, and the result of this suffering was the writing of the extraordinary and admirable work The Founding Myths of Modern Israel; a book that not only challenges the Holocaust, but also every claim to the Palestinian land that the Zionists deem as their right. Garaudy deals with the Holocaust in just one chapter of the book, which accounts for perhaps one-fifth of his work, while the rest of the work examines and refutes several of the Zionists’ exaggerated claims. In a precise definition of the phenomenon of Zionism, he introduced it as a form of colonialism and by presenting numerous and undeniable historical documents, he showed that Herzl, the founder of Zionism, as well as all the leaders of this group, have held such an opinion. For the first time, he revealed the story of Zionists’ membership in some groups affiliated with Nazi Germany; Garaudy showed how people like Yitzhak Shamir (the Zionist Prime Minister) by fuelling Nazism in Germany, sought to spread terror among the Jews in order to intimidate them into immigrating to Palestine. Garaudy proved with accurate data that the claim of “a land without a people for a people without a land”, which was repeatedly put forward by the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime, Golda Meir, is in fact a complete lie and a claim made out of arrogance. Garaudy proved it to the seemingly pro-democracy Europeans that Palestine has for centuries been a place where religions lived peacefully together and at the time of the Zionist invasion, it had played an important role in the region’s economy.
During the Nuremberg Trials, the series of trials against the Nazi leaders, he did not rely solely on the Holocaust; rather, he believed that this court and its law, instead of a fair trial, staged a ridiculous political spectacle aimed at satisfying the demands of the organizers. In principle 22 of the law the Nuremberg tribunal, it is stated that “The tribunal will not seek evidence for matters known to the people.” And it was by relying on such laws that the Holocaust managed to be ultimately proven. However, Garaudy believed that Jews, like all other ethnic groups, had suffered during World War II, but their suffering was no different from that of the others, and insisting on the false number of six million Jews killed, can create no grounds for forgetting the 30 million Muslim victims and the tens of millions of victims from other races during World War II. It was because of this research that he was persecuted and suffered.
In 1998, a French court found him guilty of Holocaust denial and racial defamation and fined him 120,000 French francs ($ 40,000) for his book The Myths of the Founder of Israeli Politics, written in 1995. Acknowledging the negative views of Holocaust legend Robert Farrison, the book states that Jews were not killed in gas chambers during the Holocaust, and that the book was quickly translated into Arabic and Persian. To support Garaudy, the Sudanese lawyer assembled a five-member legal team to support Garaudy at his trial in Paris. This cruel trial, which led to his conviction for ransom, made him popular in Islamic countries because Islamic countries were fully aware of the fake nature of usurper Israel. Almost from 1998 onwards, Roger Garaudy, who considered the censorship of his book to be unjust and a “Zionist conspiracy”, was practically expelled by the Zionist networks in the world and turned to anti-Zionist countries such as the Islamic Republic of Iran; And the Islamic Republic according to its anti-arrogance mission, supported this free writer so that his voice could be heard by the freemen of the world.
During these years, he traveled several times to Tehran, Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Qatar and the Palestinian territories. In 1998, he met Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi during a trip to Qom, where he said: “Islam is the most universal religion. I, who was a Christian and a Marxist, became a Muslim because I found Islam universal and comprehensive. “Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Revolution, said in Friday prayers on May 13, 2000, referring to the French government’s trial and treatment of Roger Garaudy, who claimed that Nazi Germany did not kill Jews in the Holocaust myth: Where have you seen anyone in the West speak out against Zionism?
A Revolution Against American Imposing Civilization
He believed that the Islamic Revolution of Iran was a revolution against the American-imposed civilization. Analyzing the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Garaudy said: “The British Revolution was against a political system, the French Revolution was against a political-economic system, the American Revolution was for liberation from British domination, and the Russian Revolution was a political revolution, but the Iranian revolution was to create a new model of a new civilization.»
This prominent French thinker and truth-seeking philosopher finally passed away on June 15, 2012. Among Garaudy’s numerous works in the field of philosophy and politics, the following can be mentioned:
-Do we need God? (Avons-nous besoin de Dieu?)
-God is dead (Dieu est mort)
-The grandeur and decadences of Islam
-Islam and integrism
-Call to the living
-Who do you say that I am?
-Towards a war of religion
-Founding Myths of Modern Israel (also translated as Founding myths of the Israeli policy and Mythical foundations of Israeli policy)
-Western Terrorism (Le Terrorisme Occidental)