The following op-ed was originally published in French in the Algerian newspaper Le Quotidien d'Oran. Translated by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
It is not going to stop, [instead] it keeps on reproducing itself in the cities of the Sahara, it becomes vocal and shouts, then kills, taking you by the throat; it destroys giant Buddhas and [people's] bodies and advances like a desert that dries out even the desert itself: salafism/Islamism/fundamentalism, the cancer on the face of the world and on the will to live.
All this no longer obeys the ancient forms of the threat: it is no longer a brigade, a group or a front, but a sort of tumor: it may swell under your armpit or on the streets of London. It kills; we then arrest the killer, but we do not stop the disease. We kill the hostage taker, but not the malignant cell. And it has a banner, a sort of skein of darkness, that is waved in the dry and dead wind of a theological infinity. It is everywhere and it is like barbed wire running over your bare skin. Everywhere, as the living dead himself explains: "It is Allah who says that Sharia should be implemented." And "in Islam there is no democracy, for that would mean that people have the right to challenge Allah and to decide in His stead. This is inadmissible and one will not allow this heresy, may God protect us."
Who is speaking? A dead cell, convinced that God spoke to it and that it has the right to infect a world that shines and replace it with a world that kills.
Unbelievable: at first, one might think that Islamism is an ideology, a policy or a line of thought. This is a simplistic point of view -- political orthodoxy, conventional wisdom and ideas. No, we must also see through the prism on biology: It is a disease, which intends to devour the world, it is not an issue of faith and belief.
A salafist man is not looking for God, but in the dark, he is after your throat. He believes that the whole world must believe the way he does and, if it does not, it is the whole world that is 'sick' and must be brought back to the right path. By persuasion or by blood.
The salafist man finds it unbelievable that there are people who do not think the same way he does! He considers this difference as a personal attack. He is astonished that the whole world is not Muslim and he is going to correct this.
First of all, we must stop talking about ideas: It is a disease like the Plague in the Middle Ages. It is the disease of the century, but without poetry. It is a pathology against civilization. This disease will stop only when the whole world will be a total tumor. This is what is threatening the future and frightens people down to their bowels. What eventually arrives are wars, massacres and slaughters against our children, who will have to fight a war of survival against the black flag, which is not the symbol of a "nation," but the end of nations and of the earth.
For [the Islamists] all look alike, as, in general, corpses do: from Yemen to Mauritania, from London to Australia. Same hirsute look, same crazed eyes, same surreal sales pitch, same signs and anger and same convulsions of the body inhabited by a demon made of ink and verses. And all this proceeds from south to north, from your neighbors towards you. This accursed Salafi flag everywhere wants men to prostrate themselves, and explains what is right, that God has spoken, that the earth is the booty of heaven. A terrible and murderous world which intends to kill us all: us, our children, light, art, hope, freedom and the dignity of questioning.
This is not a pessimistic view, just a glimpse of what is coming: salafism/Islamism/jihadism is a disease that wants to destroy the world. We must see it and treat it as such. The black flag is the abscess under the armpit of the those who are plague-ridden. A sign of death.
Kamel Daoud is a journalist based in Algeria.