“Democratization of Muslim societies has failed”

What exactly could Islam learn from the Catholic Church?

A debate about secularism is needed. What can Muslims expect from the Koran? The Muslims overwhelm the Koran or the Prophet. The Koran can and wants the questions of the Muslims in the present dont answer. Muslims try to replace their minds with the Koran – but the Koran does not want that. The Church has gone through the Enlightenment process with bitter experiences from which we could learn a great deal. The Church has defined and consolidated its position in a plural, democratic society. That is missing for Islam. If, however, some representatives of Islam want to conduct this debate, the Muslims feel insulted, misunderstood, etc. Unfortunately we are unable to conduct lively internal Islamic debates without external pressure. I am back at the new documentation center: It will certainly hurt us in the short term, but it will help us in the long term – if it really works scientifically.

You wrote in a “standard” guest comment that this position should not only be an “auxiliary police”. What’s your fear there?

If the documentation center only collects or documents newspaper reports and Facebook entries, then this will not be enough. Lorenzo Vidino (Extremism researcher at the US George Washington University, who presented the documentation center together with Susanne Raab and Mouhanad Khorchide; note) for example, did not bring much in his studies that we did not know beforehand. But we need new knowledge!

So what do you think this position should do?

The documentation center must not only observe and point out grievances, but must also present future-oriented improvement concepts. If you think of the Muslim metropolitan areas, for example in Favoriten or Ottakring: they naturally attract certain Muslim clubs or organizations. Such conurbations do not arise from mosques, but vice versa: the conurbations call the mosques on the map. If we want to tackle the problem, we have to consider why such metropolitan areas arise.

How do you want to prevent such conurbations?

No Turkish or Arab family I know wants to send their children to a school in the 10th or 16th district. They are looking for a school in the 19th district if they can afford it. They prefer to send their children to Catholic private schools. Political Islam is, of course, very interested in the existence of the metropolitan areas, their isolation and isolation. With my work I try to fight against this isolation being theologized. What a lot of organizations do: foreclosure is propagated to save Islamic identity. Here, of course, politics is also required. These conurbations were perceived far too late and the concerns of the Muslims were not taken seriously. Only after 9/11 did a rethink begin here.

The documentation center is also criticized for narrowing its field of activity compared to the original approach in the government program, which speaks of a “research and documentation center for anti-Semitism, for religiously motivated political extremism (political Islam) and for racism in the 21st century” …

One can of course say that the government is well advised to stick to its own program. On the other hand: an essential element of political Islam is anti-Semitism. But this means that the fight against political Islam is also a fight against anti-Semitism.


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