A manifesto [that is apparently the term used by the signatories] signed by leading European intellectuals and writers including Bernard Henri Levy and Rushdie has been issued in Paris. It attacks Islamism which it defines as “reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism.”
It declares that "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global threat: Islamism."
Their concerns were aroused by the violent reaction to the Danish cartoons Many Europeans, as exemplified by these intellectuals, see the violent reaction to the cartoons as exemplifying the threat to Europe from adherents to Islamism who, the intellectuals believe, lack fidelity to democratic values.
Not all Muslims share these views, but the signatories worry about those who do. It should be noted that the signatories included a number of self-professed Muslim moderates who worry that their religion is being hijacked by extremists.
While this has not gotten great press, it may well be the beginning of a trend among moderate Muslims who are less afraid to speak out. Maybe the completely out of proportion reaction to the cartoons and the fact that there is has been a far greater outcry about the violence of the reactions than about the cartoons themselves, have given the moderates a feeling that this is a moment that must be seized.