Marcia Lynx Qualey
Last updated: 18 December, 2014

“We are all Kamel Daoud”: Algerians rise up in solidarity with threatened novelist

An Algerian Salafi imam — called “un obscure salafiste” by the paper Le Matin — has called for the death of award-winning Algerian novelist Kamel Daoud.

It was on December 16 that Salafi leader Abdelfatah Hamadache declared a fatwa condemning the writer and journalist Kamel Daoud to death for apostasy. According to RFI, the writer had appeared on French television and called upon the Arab world to “resolve the God question”. The declaration to kill Daoud — whose debut novel, Meursault, Counter-Investigation, has been both a critical darling and a best-seller in France — was made on Facebook.

“If Sharia law was applied in Algeria,” Hamadache wrote on Facebook, “the punishment would have been to kill (Daoud)” for his writings.

The Algerian TSA news service reports that Daoud plans to file a legal complaint. “I will file a complaint tomorrow morning, because this is a call for murder.”

According to TSA, Hamadache responded that “I did not say I was going to kill him and I have not called on Muslims to do so. We ask the Algerian authorities to apply ‘al Had’ (the death sentence) and that is something of which we are proud!”

Immediately, social media lit up about the incident, although mostly in French. A multilingual petition quickly had 800-some signatories, and others wrote on Facebook or Twitter: