Is Political Islam no longer a threat?

A comment by Michael Laubsch

photo credits: Christoph Morlinghaus / Superlative

The Expert Group on Political Islamism (EPI) founded by the German government in June last year should not continue its work. EPI members reported to the German Press Agency (dpa) that representatives of the ministry had informed them that there was no interest in perpetuating the joint work of the group of experts. Social scientist Ruud Koopmans said he was dismayed by the decision. The Ministry of the Interior announced that the scientific perspective was sufficiently limited. It is therefore appropriate to continue the exchange of experts in a different form. “It is planned to hold a regular symposium in which the EPI network will be a crucial part,” said a spokeswoman. Specific details would be worked out. The EPI network will continue to play an important role in advising on this topic.

A good year ago, the then Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) set up the Expert Group on Political Islamism. He justified it by saying that resolute action must be taken against any ideology that goes against the values and norms of our free-democratic basic order. Given Germany’s experience of Islamist terrorism and the milieus that have emerged in many cities whose members reject our core values, the establishment of the circle was a step in the right direction in our efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.

The ministry acts as if it now knows enough and can refresh this knowledge from time to time at non-binding specialist conferences. Like broader political circles, the German government only seems to care about Islamism with explosions, deaths, when trucks drive into crowds or when heads are cut off. Then great embarrassment spreads every time, politicians outdo each other in keeping quiet about the background to the crime or in declaring the perpetrator to be a madman, a lone wolf, although past attacks like the one in Vienna clearly showed the breeding ground on which terror grew.

„This decision is the next indication that the Federal Government and Interior Minister Faeser do not have the issue of Islamism on their agenda“, says German politician Christoph de Vries, adding that “the discussion paper on the Democracy Promotion Act also contains nothing on preventing and combating Islamism, but certainly on combating Muslim and Islamophobia.“

Even recommendations in the German parliament are being ignored by the responsible ministry: In a hearing of the Committee for the Interior at the Bundestag, all experts and parliamentarians agreed on the fact, that especially the so-called „legalistic Islam“ – groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Milli Görüs, Iran-backed communities – should be monitored more in detail by scientists, in conjunction with German security services, being able to have a closer look on those communities with reformed legal means. But it seems that the German executive is not following those requests by the parliament. Consistent observation is important because legalistic Islamism is so difficult to grasp. Such movements often come to terms with the existing order, are open for dialogue, they use the „language of diversity“ fluently. But internally, people preach a move away from the rule of law and democracy in favor of a theocracy in which those of other faiths are considered inferior.

The „European Council on Fatwa and Research“in Ireland, which has a German branch and was co-founded by the recently died Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the ideological mastermind of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a very good example. Al-Qaradawi recommended a hundred lashes for homosexuals, wanted to subject Europe to Sharia and called on Muslims to complete the Holocaust, the complete annihilation of the Jews. The fatwa, which has not been publicly withdrawn to this day, described the death penalty for apostasy as legal in Islamic states.

When it comes to the keyword “Islamophobia”, expertise on legalistic Islamism would be urgently needed, since the accusation of Islamophobia is notoriously used by the actors of political Islam to silence critics of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, but also of nationalism and authoritarianism. Especially the publication of the annual “Islamophobia Report“, a pseudo-scientific pamphlet, tries to overwhelm critics of Islamism (not of Islam) with accusations of Islamophobia. It is funded by the Turkish SETA Foundation, the scientific “mouthpiece of the Turkish President” (Deutsche Welle) and most influential promoter of Political Islam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The SETA Foundation has close personal ties to the Turkish government and has been known to defame critics of the Turkish government at home and abroad, the accusation of Islamophobia is often used.

The German government, and especially the Ministry for Family Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, should be aware that their policies not only show a blind eye to the dangers of political Islam, but also deal a blow to the many Muslims who oppose legalistic Islam and despair more and more due to the failed policy of a government.

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