Roger Garaudy

Roger Garaudy was elected to the French National Assembly in 1945 and later served as Deputy Speaker and Senator. He was a leading European Marxist thinker and contributed susbtantially to ideas on the political theory and the philosophy of civilizations. His writings cover such topics as the Morality, Aesthetics, Marxism, and Religion. Roger Garaudy, 84, was born in Marseilles and was raised as a Roman Catholic. He reverted to Islam in 1982.

More than just a "former communist," Garaudy had for years been the ideological muscleman of the French Communist Party, as well as a high-profile political thinker and social activist in the national life of France.

The underscored reference to Garaudy's "conversion" to Holocaust revisionism in Le Monde's headline was an added touch of irony and double-entendre aimed at the more informed French reader, who might have recalled the old communist's somewhat bombastic 1982 conversion to Islam.

Chombeau has described Garaudy's more recent ideological colours in these terms: "Anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli, anti-capitalist, Muslim..." Also accused of being anti-Semitic, Garaudy has insisted that for him "Judaism is not the issue, but that Israeli policies are" ["Le judaisme n'est pas mis en cause, mais la politique israÈlienne."]. Still, allegations of anti-Semitism against Garaudy surfaced again this past winter.

Garaudy, who converted to Islam in 1982, was received in government circles, and met as well with religious leaders, intellectuals (including, reportedly, the Egyptian writer and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz) and journalists.

Garaudy is undoubtedly the most influential Westerner ever to bring the revisionist case against the Holocaust story to the Islamic world. Esteemed as an intellectual, a long-time anti-imperialist, and a Muslim (although not a radical Islamist), Garaudy makes a revisionist connection to Muslims and Arabs that to date has been doubly difficult for other revisionists. Doubly difficult because their Western, Christian heritage and perspective has hampered understanding; while at the same time, their Middle Eastern listeners, predisposed to accept all things anti-Zionist, have either viewed the Holocaust story as simply one more among many Jewish hoaxes or sins, or been disposed to accept the reality of the myth (sometimes even lamenting that Hitler didn't "finish the job").

A former French Communist leader, philosopher and recent convert to Revisionism and Islam, Garaudy was charged, tried and convicted for writing a semi-Revisionist book titled "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics,"