In his commentary, Mr. Redeker compared Islam unfavorably to Christianity and Judaism, although he admitted that the history of the Catholic Church was “full of dark pages,” and he criticized the hostile reaction to the pope’s remarks.
“Jesus is a master of love; Muhammad is a master of hatred,” Mr. Redeker wrote, adding, “Whereas Judaism and Christianity are religions whose rites forsake violence and remove its legitimacy, Islam is a religion that, in its very sacred text, as much as in some of its everyday rites, exalts violence and hatred. Hatred and violence dwell in the very book that educates any Muslim, the Koran.”
Immediately afterward, Mr. Redeker, who teaches in a public high school near Toulouse and is the author of several books on philosophy, began to receive death threats by telephone, e-mail and through the online Islamist Web site known as Al Hesbah, a password-protected forum with ties to Al Qaeda. The forum published photos of him and what it said was his home address, directions to his home and his cellphone number, according to the SITE Institute, which tracks violent Islamist groups.
That day’s issue of Le Figaro was banned in Egypt and Tunisia. Mr. Redeker was denounced by a commentator on Al Jazeera television.
“I can’t work, I can’t come and go and am obliged to hide,” Mr. Redeker told Europe 1 radio in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location on Friday. “So in some way, the Islamists have succeeded in punishing me on the territory of the republic as if I were guilty of a crime of opinion.”