By Derrida, Jacques; Borradori, Giovanna; Cherif, Mustapha; Derrida, Jacques; Fagan, Teresa Lavender

In the spring of 2003, Jacques Derrida sat down for a public debate in Paris with Algerian highbrow Mustapha Chérif. The eminent thinker arrived on the occasion at once from the health center the place he had simply been clinically determined with pancreatic melanoma, the affliction that may take his existence simply over a 12 months later. That he nonetheless participated within the trade testifies to the significance of the topic handy: the more and more distressed courting among Islam and the West, and the questions of freedom, justice, and democracy that encompass it.
 
As Chérif relates during this account in their discussion, the subject of Islam held exact resonance for Derrida—perhaps it really is to be anticipated that close to the top of his existence his recommendations could go back to Algeria, the rustic the place he used to be born in 1930. certainly, those roots served because the impetus for their conversation, which first facilities at the ways that Derrida’s Algerian-Jewish id has formed his pondering. From there, the 2 males circulate to broader questions of secularism and democracy; to politics and faith and the way the previous manipulates the latter; and to the parallels among xenophobia within the West and fanaticism between Islamists.
 
Ultimately, the dialogue is an try to tear down the idea that Islam and the West are civilizations locked in a sour fight for supremacy and to think again them because the beaches of the Mediterranean—two halves of an analogous geographical, spiritual, and cultural sphere. Islam and the West is an important chance to additional our knowing of Derrida’s perspectives at the key political and spiritual divisions of our time and a regularly relocating testomony to the facility of friendship and cohesion to surmount them.

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Today, humanity is confronted with multiple challenges; will the generations to come be the complete authors of the life they will lead, and will they be able to live on the basis of their own ability to assume a multicultural existence? Within the framework of the very negative globalization in its current forms, the shrinking of rights and the difficulty of being a responsible citizen, will the quest for happiness and freedom, dignity and humanity in life still be possible tomorrow? No culture, or religion, can face these challenges and respond fully alone, for in the face of the complexity of the situation it is the universal that leads.

Violence, the shrinking of the law, the absence of dialogue between worlds are among the disturbing realities we face. The fact that Jacques Derrida was with us is a strong sign that we must remain attached to the peaceful debates of ideas, without ever despairing. And so I simply said to him, welcome. The Discussion 28 To Have Lived, and to Remember, as an Algerian “Thank you. I would like to speak today as an Algerian,” he responded with a smile. “I was born a Jew in Algeria, from that part of the community which in 1870 had obtained nationality through the Cremieux Decree, and then lost it in 1940.

This sign helps us not only to rethink concepts but also to participate in the formation of a common conscience, to go beyond all borders and to state a universal in which the specific, the different, the plural dimension forms Introduction 12 the very foundation of the civilization to come, without ceding anything to the excesses of particularism. The secularization of the political and of the public spheres, Derrida rightly tells us, is the fundamental condition, the necessary passage to freedom, democracy, and progress.

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Islam and the West : a conversation with Jacques Derrida by Derrida, Jacques; Borradori, Giovanna; Cherif, Mustapha;
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