Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber, who is widely known by his nom de plume Adonis, was interviewed on April 15 by France 24 TV, and noted that religion should be a private experience of individuals, and that “if we do not separate religion and state … we will remain trapped in a vicious circle.”

Adonis called for equality for women and for the establishment of a secular democratic society, governed by the rule of law and not by tribal or sectarian considerations.

Warning that following the Arab Spring, the movement has been towards “restoring the culture of Islamic imperialism,” he asked: “How come the Muslims do not engage in a new and revolutionary reading of the Quran?”

He also said that “we need a revolution within Islam, in order to change its initial perception, which has dominated for 1,500 years.”