Derrida and the Other Islam: In What Ways If at All, Does Derrida Provide For a New Perception of Islam in the West Post 9/11?

Credits: Rehan Jamil
One singular, supposedly “unframeable, unpredictable, and ultimately incomprehensible,” Heidegerrian happenstance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has arguably shaken the contemporary world more than anything before. The global politics have since become increasingly multipolar, whereas the Western public has grown more acutely aware of the world’s cultural and civilisational heterogeneity. But above all, the world has witnessed a momentous return of Islam to the fore of the political discourse. As Derrida argues that the challenge between Islam and the Western democracy is “perhaps the greatest, if not the only, political issue of the future,” his reading provides for a tremendous deconstruction of the notion of Islamist threat and the new ‘other’ that would supposedly define the European identity by “invoking a kind of societal cold war between Europe and Islam.”
The end of the Cold War has been numerously hailed as the virtual turning point in modern history. The world has since experienced an unprecedented degree of fundamental structural change. However, all this transformation has been overshadowed by one singular, supposedly “unframeable, unpredictable, and ultimately incomprehensible,” Heidegerrian happenstance, which has arguably shaken the contemporary world more than anything before.[1] Jacques Derrida reminds us that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have often been described as the “major event” that has changed the world forever.[2]
The global politics have since become increasingly multipolar, whereas the Western public has grown to be more acutely aware of the world’s cultural and civilisational heterogeneity.[3] But above all, the past nine years have witnessed a momentous return of Islam to the fore of the political discourse. Islam has even been purported to play a more profound role in shaping the twenty-first century Europe than any other major force, including the US, Russia, or even the European Union.[4] Similarly, Derrida argued that the challenge between Islam and the Western democracy is “perhaps the greatest, if not the only, political issue of the future.”[5]
Islam, in the post-9/11 world, has numerously been associated with Islamism and terrorism. The contemporary European public discourse is replete with frequent warnings against the ‘Islamic threats’ to our security and culture. Both the recent ‘burka’ controversy in Belgium or France, and the dispute over the constructions of minarets in Switzerland perfectly exemplify the European unwariness with their Muslim population.[6] The Mohammedan faith is meant to become the ‘new threat’ and the new ‘other’ that would supposedly define the European identity by “invoking a kind of societal cold war between Europe and Islam.”
This article therefore attempts to deconstruct these ideas and indicate a variety of possible ‘readings’ of Islam through the Derridean philosophy. It is hereby argued that not only does Derrida allow for a new reinterpretation and a clearer, more authentic understanding of Islam as ‘the other’, but also reminds the Muslims of the essential plurality of their religion.
Moreover, it enables us to do away with much of the propaganda surrounding the 9/11 and reminds us of two fundamentally crucial human mechanisms, i.e. the act of forgiveness and of hospitality, that will arguably lead to a better more humane future, where Islam and the West will not stand as two distant poles but rather two indispensible, cross-culturally fertilising ingredients of our common civilisation.
Providing an answer to the above-stated research question requires a pursuit of a truly Derridean project of deconstructing the main aspects of the discussed problématique. It is argued here that an identification of some of the significant power relations and interests connoted through the concept of the ‘other’, with all its implications for the present-day Islam, will provide for a greater appreciation of the politico-theological characteristics popularly attributed to this religion. This process will also uncover the inherent complexity of the Islamic religious pluralism and its organic links to other Abrahamic religions – Judaism and Christianity; a link so often suppressed. Moreover, the Derridean deconstruction, understood here, after Newman, as a “way of reading texts with the intention of making these texts question themselves,”[7] enables us to stipulate the inherent contradiction between the Islamist pursuit of claiming the Quran’s singularity and its true heterogeneity of meanings.[8] Finally, a deconstruction of the meanings of the 9/11 attacks, its origins, its ‘autoimmunitary nature’, and its significance for the Western media and governmental propaganda of the early 21st century will provide for a more accurate, even if still ambiguous, reading of Islam in the West.
Due to his culturally colourful upbringing as a Jewish child growing up in the colonial French Algeria, Jacques Derrida has always been very much in touch with his non-European, Arab side. He often talked about his ‘nostalgérie’, or his personal affection for Algeria.[9] Soon before his death in 2004, in a conversation with Mustapha Chérif, Derrida insists “I would like to speak today as an Algerian.”[10] Despite all his life experiences gained in the West and the fact that having left Algeria in 1949, Derrida returned there only twice in 1957-9 and 1971, he continuously claimed that much of his philosophical work was inspired by his cultural heritage received in Algeria.[11] Derrida argued:
“All the work I have pursued, with regard to European, Western, so-called Greco-European philosophical thought, the questions I have been led to ask from some distance, a certain exteriority, would certainly not have been possible if, in my personal history, I had not been a sort of child in the margins of Europe, … who had passed his time travelling between one culture and the other feeding questions asked himself out of that instability.”[12]
It is perhaps his childhood experience of the margins of Europe that has greatly informed one of his most important philosophical deliberations on the nature of ‘otherness’, which constitutes the focal point of this research. Derrida largely agrees with Schmitt that ‘otherness’ plays a significant role in the process of identifying oneself by drawing the impassable borderlines and boundaries between the enemy and us.[13] In a conversation with Richard Kearney, he admits to have tried to explore how the Western identity was founded on the exclusion of others, be in Etruscans for the Romans, the Irish for the British, or even the aliens.[14] He often argues that ‘being-political’ of Europe has always been based on the politicisation and securitisation of the other, the enemy, the non-European, and the non-Christian.[15]
However, this process of identifying the ‘Western’ world through the exclusion of the ‘non-European’, in general, and the Islamic, in particular, has always been problematic. It is impossible, as Derrida correctly maintains, to “say ‘Europe’ without connoting: Athens-Jerusalem-Rome-Byzantium.”[16] Indeed, “the responsibility towards memory calls for a historical self-understanding based on difference and heterogeneity,” as noted by Borradori.[17] Europe has always been a continent of extreme plurality and it is futile to ever attempt to separate Europe from its supposedly ‘wholly non-European’ neighbours.
Moreover, should one even agree with Huntington (the author nonetheless argues that such action carries a great deal of academic inaccuracy) and describe Europe and Islam as two separate civilisations, it becomes poignantly clear that they are “characterised by a historical relationship that has been described … by a combination of intercultural borrowing and a cross-cultural fertilisation,” as argued by Tibi.[18]  Furthermore, polarising Europe and Islam has become simply impossible in the contemporary age of globalisation.
Derrida writes: “The world in which I speak is absolutely heterogeneous.” [19] This realisation leads him to question the notion of identity itself. Due to the fact that much of the experience of ‘the other’ is in fact also ours, as reminded by Ramadan, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw the lines that supposedly constitute our identity, that delineate what we truly are.[20] Derrida objects to the idea of the internal homogeneity of identities and indicates that “identity emerged as a cluster of unstable boundaries” that are not so much about identity itself but rather about what they exclude.[21] It appears that, for Derrida, we are what we are, just as much as we are what we are not. Borradori maintains that “traces of what a totality explicitly excludes are always silently contained within it,” thus making the purity of self-identity extremely contentious.[22]
Nonetheless, “every identity presupposes alterity,” says Derrida.[23] This alterity however, has in the eyes of this French-European-Arab-African secular Jew indeed a great positive value as it indicates that the human civilisation is more about difference - an indeed very positive and beneficial characteristic - than it is about sameness. His early years in Algeria, during which he lived in a close proximity of the Europeans, the Arab and the Africans; the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians; as well as the religious and the secular, made him come to the conclusion that in fact the real ‘other’ is “the closest of all possible neighbours,” separated from themselves by no more than a punctuation mark – “there a hyphen, here a comma.”[24] Therefore, Islam for Derrida is often incredibly close, yet unbearably remote.
This appeal to otherness and the inherent differences among the society was a common anti-totalitarian notion advanced by the French intellectuals of the late 1970s and 1980s, to which Derrida subscribed. Breckman notices that both the poststructuralists such as Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe, and the post-Marxists, i.e. Mouffe and Laclau, perceived deconstruction of stable identities as an antidote to various forms of totalitarianism and fundamentalism.[25] Interestingly, Derrida follows Arendt’s deliberations on totalitarianisms that have persuaded him to claim, “the essence of terror is not the physical elimination of whomever is perceived to be different but the eradication of difference in people, namely, of their individuality,” an action arguably common for many Islamists that feel threatened by their own lack of internal or societal confidence.[26]
The West continuously accuses Islam for its violence, terrorism, lack of freedom, and its denial of individuality. Many of these accusations are indeed perfectly legitimate in the face of a particular Islamist understanding of the Muslim religious life. The followers of movements such as Al Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and others, indeed represent the worst in Islam. But as there is no one West, there is no one Islam, notes Derrida.[27] He also reminds us that “Islam is not Islamism and we should never forget it, but the latter operates in the name of the former, and thus emerges the grave question of the name.”[28] Precisely. What is it then, what we call ‘Islam’?
Ibn al-Arabi
Derrida provides a very intriguing response to this dilemma. In a truly typical for him manner, he denotes Islam as the ‘other’, yet a very close ‘other’. Islam indisputably originates from the other two Abrahamic, or as Derrida puts it, ‘Ibrahamic’ religions and belongs to what the Muslims call ‘the people of the Book’, Ahl al-Kitab, which includes both the Muslims and their brothers in Christianity and Judaism. In line with this tradition, Derrida refers to this monotheistic heritage of our civilisation as ‘Judeo-Christian-Islamic’, thus “reintroducing this hyphen that many of us forget, and that complicates the scenario in a very refreshing way,” as noted by Kearney.[29] By introducing this hyphen Derrida attempts to reconnect the three branches of the Abrahamic faith and indicate their similarities; a project that may offer a considerable space for peaceful reconciliation.[30] Anidjar remains however, unimpressed and suggests, “The Abrahamic … surrounds and articulates an insufficient hyphen that does not bridge anything…. A hyphen is never enough to conceal protests, cries of anger or suffering, the noise of weapons, airplanes and bombs.”[31]
But these bombs and weapons, as indicated above, are the tools used only by a very tiny, even if extremely perceptible, fraction of the larger Islam. Islamism has often claimed to be the most perfect form of Islam yet. But, as noted by Borradori and Al-Azmeh, “there is [a great] plurality in Islam as well as multiple Islams.”[32] Derrida’s deconstructive tools seem to be extremely useful in explicating both the internal plurality within Islam as well as the existence of various Islams. Although many Islamists would argue against such actions, there appears to be a long deconstructive tradition within the Islamic philosophy and theology itself. Ian Almond interestingly demonstrates a great deal of similarities between Derrida and Ibn al-‘Arabi, one of the greatest Islamic Sufis and philosophers.
Derrida and Ibn al-‘Arabi share, what Almond calls, “the absolute singularity of their positions,” as they endeavour to critique virtually every thinker they come across and every concept they encounter.[33] But what is even more important, they share a common passion for openness (Ibn al-Arabi’s futuh or Derrida’s ouvert), disapproval for rigidity and systems, as well as an anxious unease with reason, of which limits they often deliberate.[34] Derrida often spoke of the text as of “a bristling collection of forces, forever oscillating undecidably between various parameters of meaning.”[35] This understanding could be very refreshing to many Muslims indoctrinated into the supposedly Muslim concept of singularity of meaning in Qur’an. Ibn al-’Arabi was extremely reproachful of all the Muslim philosophers that “chained the Real to their own meanings.”[36] Both the text for Derrida, and God for Ibn al-‘Arabi (with the Quran as His attribute), are infinite it their meanings. They are both beyond the limits of delineation.[37] As an Islamic Gnostic, Abu Talib al-Makki reminded, “God never discloses Himself in a single form to two individuals, nor in a single form twice.”[38]
Nonetheless, and in spite of all the pluralism inherent to Islam and the centuries of incredible cultural influence that the West received from the Islamic East, Islam comes to be currently equated with Islamism and the Islamist terrorism, which led to the murderous attacks on 9/11/2001.[39] Derrida, however, is not satisfied with what 9/11 came to be perceived as, and decided to deconstruct its meanings and indicate its origins. He claims that one can and indeed must “distinguish between the supposedly brute fact, the ‘impression’, and the interpretation” of those attacks.[40] He then objects to the popular media propaganda portraying this incident as a ‘major event’ and goes on to demonstrate that there was in fact very little of what could possibly constitute this day as anything major at all. 9/11 was, for Derrida, neither unpredictable, nor excessively deadly.
Despite the impression, which the media imprinted on the global audience and its continuous monumentalisation and historicisation of the events, 9/11 with its death toll of 2,976 people is indeed comparatively insignificant, as Derrida suggests.[41] He then asks, “What would September 11 have been without television?”[42] It is argued here that Derrida, in his deconstruction of 9/11, realises a very tragic and regrettable characteristic of the contemporary globalised world, in which “quantitatively comparable killings, or even those greater in number, whether immediate or indirect, never produce such an intense upheaval when they occur outside European or American space (Cambodia, Rwanda, Palestine, Iraq and so on).”[43] As one can see here, 9/11 was by far not as singular, incomprehensible or even unframeable an event, as we have been made to believe.
Neither has it been unpredictable. Derrida argues that 9/11 was a typical symptom of a Western autoimmune crisis with its origins still in the Cold War.[44] Derrida rightly indicates that the United States agents had in fact trained all of the Islamist masterminds of 9/11, associated with Al Qaida, during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. It “could be [then] interpreted as the implosive finale of the Cold War, killed by its own convolutions and contradictions,” he notes.[45] But 9/11 came to be even “worse than Cold War,” as the world realised that the major threats came no longer from other states but rather from some “incalculable forces” and unidentifiable actors.[46] And this again indicates its autoimmunitary characteristic, whereby the West, having tried to identify itself by externalising Islam as an alien threat that was to replace the role of communism, had undoubtedly unleashed the ‘monster’ of its own creation.[47]
Derrida’s concept of autoimmunity is however, arguably best understood by evaluating its ‘third phase’ – “the vicious circle or repression” that has apparently started with the Bush administration’s calling to a ‘war against terror’. Here, Derrida attempts to again condemn the classical binary of a friend against foe, and suggest that there might be a third category somewhere in between these two terms; “a characteristically deconstructive move aimed at displacing the traditional metaphysical tendency to rely on irreducible pairs,” as Borradori notes.[48]
The war on terrorism, as a destructive weapon pointed at the perpetrators of 9/11, has indeed turned into a self-destructive tendency that “works to regenerate … the causes of the evil it claims to eradicate,” argues Derrida.[49] ‘Terrorism’, in his mind, is a terribly illusive concept that does not allow for a precise definition or a clear-cut distinction between “war and terrorism,” as noted by Borradori, “state and non-state terrorism, terrorism and national liberation movements, national and international terrorism.”[50] But instead, it encourages constant conflict, serves to further strengthen the sense of purpose of the terrorist organisations, and “constantly reminds [us all] of the futurity of the terrorist threat,” claims Borradori.[51] Moreover, the call for a ‘war on terror’ is in fact “doubly suicidal,” as it aims to further antagonise the West and the world of Islam; another “autoimmunitary pervasion,” as Derrida would call it.[52]
Furthermore, Derrida’s concept of ‘autoimmunity’ perfectly indicates that the ‘terrorist Islamic other’, one that we in the West can no longer, or could not even ever understand, is not so other after all. Most of the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks lived in the West, were trained in the West, shared the same experience of globalisation, used the same means of media communication to gain their support, and faced the same challenges of modernity with its supposed demise of religion from the public realm that they arguably wanted to confront. These terrorists are indeed “the closest of all possible neighbours.”[53]
Derrida however, does not stop at just indicating what went wrong and how the West was partly to be blamed for 9/11 itself, but he also suggest a way forward, even though a very idealistic one at that. He argues that the media and the governments have a duty to facilitate the process of reconciliation, which Derrida wishes to achieve through the acts of forgiveness and hospitality.[54] He argues that although “forgiveness is mad [and] remains heterogeneous to the order of politics,” and that the unconditional forgiveness “would entail taking risk, for the other can be the best or the worst – we can be greeted by the other or we can be killed,” it is indeed the only way forward.[55] He further argues, “Nothing essential will be done if one doesn’t allow oneself to be called forth by the other.”[56] The only reconciliation comes through forgiving the unforgivable. But are the humans really capable of that? This Derrida doesn’t clearly specify.
The unreserved forgiveness is, in his eyes, always both met by and facilitated by the unconditional hospitality, which does not simply stop at tolerating the other but welcomes them to your community unconditionally. He argues:
“Pure and unconditional hospitality does not contain in an invitation (‘I invite you, I welcome you into my home, on the condition that you adopt to the laws and norms of my territory' [etc.].) Pure and unconditional hospitality, hospitality itself, opens … to someone who is neither expected nor invited, to whomever arrives as an absolutely foreign visitor…. I would call this a hospitality of visitation rather than invitation."[57]
Here, Derrida clearly refers to the millions of the French immigrants; mostly Muslims; and the French integrationist and assimilatory policies, which most of Muslims perceive as xenophobic and racist strategies that aim at stripping them of their real Muslim identity.[58] For him hospitality is “the unconditional acceptance of the other beyond all differences,” as purported by Chérif.[59]
Derrida’s thought may indeed be perceived as overly idealistic and arguably useless in terms of any real policy solutions. David-West has argued that his “pseudo-communist social Utopianism … works up from a leap of faith.”[60] But as “he came from the edge of the world,” as maintained by Chérif, he always advised people to push the boundaries and act on the limits of reality. His life experience of ‘being on the limits’ strongly influenced him to extensively deliberate on the notion of the other, so crucial to this article. Moreover, although Derrida never wrote any full-length article or book on Islam itself, he was very attentive to the recent return of the religion in general, and Islam in particular. His deconstructive method of analysis allows for a new dimension of Islam in the West and enables us to see beyond the contemporary propaganda.
This research also indicates that deconstruction is not alien to Islamic thinking but in fact is deeply rooted in the Islamic Sufi theology. Deconstructive analyses of the Qur’an seem to also eliminate the Islamist argument for both Islam’s and Qur’an’s singularity. Derrida and Ibn al-‘Arabi demonstrate that Islam is not only inherently plural but also allows for the existence of multiple Islams that do not exclude each other. Moreover, although Derrida does recognise the existence of the horrendous Islamist and terrorist organisation that claim the name of Islam, he also demonstrates their heterogeneity from the ‘true’ Islam.
A very innovative reading of terrorism and the 9/11 attacks, pursued by Derrida, uncovers their complex origin and a new significance of these murderous acts. As a result of denying 9/11 the label of a ‘major event’ and determining its autoimmunitary characters, Derrida brings the ‘other’ Islam much closer to home for many Westerners. He also maintains that whilst waging a ‘war on terror’ as a result of the ‘Muslim’ assault, the world continuous on its ‘suicidal’ path of self-destruction. The acts of the largely undefined, idealistic, and unconditional forgiveness and hospitality are, in Derrida’s view, the only way forward and the only peaceful solution.

Matthew Machowski © 2010

[1] G. Borradori, Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2003): 149.
[2] ibid., 89-94, 148.
[3] P. Steinbrück, the German Finance Minister, has recently stressed the multipolarity of the world political and economic system and has argued that the current economic crisis only epitomises such characteristic. See: Z. Laidi, "The Complexities of Multipolar Future," Financial Times, October 22, 2008, (accessed February 15, 2010). The examination of the cultural heterogeneity or perhaps rather the civilisational conflict in the world is the central argument of the academically infamous argument by S. Huntington. For more see: S. P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilisations?" Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (1993): 22-49.
[4] T. M. Savage, “Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing,” The Washington Quarterly 27, no. 3 (Summer 2004): 25-50.
[5] J. Derrida, as cited in: A. Thomson, “Derrida's Rogues: Islam and the Futures of Deconstruction,” in Derrida: Negotiating the Legacy, ed. M. Fagan, L. Glorieux, I. Hasimbeg and M. Suetsugu (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007): 71.
[6] BBC News, “Belgian Lawmakers Pass Burka Ban,” 30 April 2010, (accessed May 5, 2010); and The Telegraph, “Nicolas Sarkozy: Burqa Not Welcome in France ,” 22 June 2009, (accessed March 25, 2010); and CNN, “Swiss Vote to Ban Minaret Construction,” CNN International Edition, 29 November 2009, (accessed March 25, 2010).
[7] S. Newman, “Derrida’s Deconstruction of Authority,” Philosophy & Social Criticism (SAGE Publications) 27, no. 3 (2001): 2.
[8] Islamic theology has been marred for centuries with continuous attempts to claim the singularity and ‘oneness’ of Quran. Much of this strategy has been based on the Islamic doctrine of the oneness of God that led many authors believe that Quran, as a sacred book, and a gift of God to humanity, must therefore be also one, permanent, all-encompassing, ultimately true and sempiternally valid in every single letter of its text. Many Islamist movements, mostly based on the 19th century theology of Wahhabism, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and others have argued for a literal reading of the Book and its unique singularity of meaning arguably best understood by themselves. For more see: A. El Fadl, Khaled. M, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam From the Extremists, (New York: HarperSanFrancisco), 2007.
[9] G. Borradori, “Forward: Pure Faith in Peace,” in Islam and the West: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida, trans. T. Lavender Fagan (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2008): XIII.
[10] Derrida as cited in: M. Chérif, Islam and the West: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida, trans. T. Lavender Fagan (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2008): 29.
[11] ibid., 31.
[12] ibid.
[13] R. van Munster, Logics of Security: The Copenhagen School, Risk Management and the War on Terror, Political Science Publications, Faculty of Social Science (Syddansk Universitet, 10/2005), 3.
[14] R. Kearney, “Jacques Derrida: Terror, Religion, and the New Politics,” in Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004): 7.
[15] G. Anidjar, “Derrida, the Jew, the Arab.,” in The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003): 48.
[16] Derrida as cited in: Anidjar (2003), op. cit., 49.
[17] G. Borradori, Philosophy in a Time o.f Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2003): 171.
[18] B. Tibi, Political Islam, World Politics, and Europe (London: Routledge, 2007): 162.
[19] J. Derrida, “Fidélite á plus d’un – mériter d’hériter oú la généalogie fait défaut (Fidelity to More Than One: Deserving to Inherit Where the Genealogy is Lacking),” in Rencontres de Rabat avec Jacques Derrida. Idiomes, nationalités, deconstructions (Idioms, Nationalities, Deconstructions: Rabat Discussions Around Jacques Derrida)(special issue) (Paris: L'Aube-Toukbal, 1998).
[20] T. Ramadan, “Is Islam in Need of Reformation,” 21 June 2006, (accessed February 15, 2010).
[21] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 11, 145.
[22] Borradori (2003), op. cit., 146; Newman, op. cit., 3.
[23] Derrida as cited in: Kearney, op. cit., 149.
[24] Borradori (2008), op. cit., XVII; Chérif, op. cit., 33; Derrida as cited in: Anidjar, op. cit, 40.
[25] W. Breckman, “Democracy betweem Disenchantment and Political Theology: French Post-Marxism and the Return of Religion,” New German Critique 94 (Secularization and Disenchantment) (Winter 2005): 88.
[26] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 7; Ramadan, op. cit.
[27] Chérif, op. cit., 39; and Borradori (2008), op. cit., XV.
[28] J. Derrida, “Faith and Knowledge: the Two Sources of 'Religion' at the Limits of Reason Alone,” in Religion, ed. J. Derrida and G. Vattimo (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998): 5-6.
[29] Kearney, op. cit., 8.
[30] G. Anidjar, “Introduction 'Once More, Once More': Derrida, the Arab, the Jew.,” in Acts of Religion, by J. Derrida, ed. G. Anidjar (New York and London: Routledge, 2002): 4-5.
[31] ibid., 8.
[32] Borradori (2008), op. cit., XV; and A. Al-Azmeh, Islam and Modernities, Second Edition (London and New York: Verso, 1996).
[33] I. Almond, “The Shackles of Reason: Sufi/Deconstructive Opposition to Rational Thought,” Philosophy East and West (University of Hawai'i Press) 53, no. 1 (January 2003): 23.
[34] ibid, 22.
[35] Derrida as cited in: Almond, op. cit., 29-30.
[36] Ibn al-‘Arabi as cited: in Almond, op. cit., 28.
[37] Ibn al-‘Arabi once wrote: ... “[T]he intellect restricts and seeks to define the truth within a particular qualification, while in fact the Reality does not admit of such a limitation…” See: Muyī al-Dīn Ibn al-ʻArabī, The Bezels of Wisdom (Fusus al-Hikam) (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980): 150.
[38] Abu Talib al-Makki as cited in: Muyī al-Dīn Ibn al-ʻArabī, The Meccan Revelations (Al-Futūāt al-Makkiyya) (New York: Pir Press, 2002-2004): 110.
[39] Savage reminds that Islam played a crucial role in the emergence of Renaissance in Europe. See: Savage, op. cit., 47.
[40] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 74.
[41] Borradori (2003), op. cit., 92, 149.
[42] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 108.
[43] ibid., 92.
[44] Autoimmunity, for Derrida, is a physical process of self-destruction of ones own defences. See: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 85-136, 150-4,
[45] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit.., 150-1.
[46] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 150-1.
[47] Buzan and Robertson believed that it  was quite tempting to draw a parallel “of Islam as the new torchbearer for anti-Westernism to replace the defeated communist challenge.” W. Claes, the Belgian NATO secretary general in the mid-1990s, also famously stated, “the new threat to the alliance was Islam.” See: Buzan and Robertson as cited in: Wæver et al., op. cit., 65, 76; Claes as cited in: Savage, op. cit., 46.
[48] Borradori, (2003), op. cit., 151.
[49] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003) op. cit., 100, 153.
[50] Borradori (2003), op. cit., 103-104, 153.
[51] Ibid., 153.
[52] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 95, 108-9.
[53] Borradori (2008), op. cit., XVII; Chérif, op. cit., 33.
[54] Borradori (2003), 154.
[55] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 84, 156.
[56] J. Derrida, “Fidélite á plus d’un – mériter d’hériter oú la généalogie fait défaut (Fidelity to More Than One: Deserving to Inherit Where the Genealogy is Lacking),” in Rencontres de Rabat avec Jacques Derrida. Idiomes, nationalités, deconstructions (Idioms, Nationalities, Deconstructions: Rabat Discussions Around Jacques Derrida)(special issue) (Paris: L'Aube-Toukbal, 1998).
[57] Derrida as cited in: Borradori (2003), op. cit., 162.
[58] For the impact of integrationism on the French Muslim community and the way it resulted in violent riots of the late 2005, see Andrew Cottey, Security in the New Europe (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007): 185.
[59] Chérif, op. cit., 5.
[60] Derrida calls for ‘democracy to come’ not as a democracy that is going to be realised in the future but an ideal of democracy that again sways on the limits of democracy and A. David-West, “Derrida, Terrorism, and Communism: A Comment on “Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides”,” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 5, no. 2 (2009).

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