Gharqad tree in the Quran, like many Qiblah

Radical Islam vs. Islam: Where is the Danger?

Vienna. Heidelberg. Berlin: an Israeli view of Germany

Is so-called radical Islam a surprising mistake that has nothing to do with the ideological basis of Islam? Or is it more of a comprehensible development, because it is anchored in the basic scriptures of Islam, which can be quite legitimate, at least from the Islamic-ideological point of view? In other words: Is Islam - at least for Westerners - already dangerous in itself?

Theo van Gogh in memoriam

I'll take one thing up front: I'm not an expert on Islam. But since I was unable to initiate a serious discussion in the blog of my Chronologs colleague Hussein Hamdan, I would like to take up the topic here and put it up for discussion.
Because the subject is so delicate and there are so many people who are very likely to misunderstand what it is about, I should explain what it is not about right away:
It is not about "the Muslims". Islam is too heterogeneous for that anyway. Those who distance themselves from Islamically motivated violence do not belong to the point here and are therefore not even discussed as a problem. In this context, I am more interested in those Muslims who feel close to the Muslim Brotherhood (let alone more militant movements) and whose avant-garde deadly in London, New York, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Madrid or on the for ideological reasons in the name of the Islamic god Attacks the railway line from Cologne to Koblenz.
It's not about quantitative aspects. All too often, Allah's fighters are differentiated and played down as "radicals". But even if they weren't so popular in the Islamic world, they wouldn't cease to exist because of that. In addition, with 1.5 billion Muslims even relatively little support would amount to (several) hundred million, of which not many, but not a few, are with us. Quantitative aspects cannot help us with this widespread, even global problem.
It is not a question of denying Islamic civilization its earlier achievements - for example in the period that we call the "Middle Ages" (although there are also black chapters there) or of excluding the possibility from the outset that it will embrace modernity in the future. It is also not about today's problems of Islamic civilization: Those who are interested can watch Dan Diner's "Sealed Time". Rather, it is about the Islamic religion and its basic texts.
It's not about theology. Whether Allah and Yahweh, if one could ever know anything about the "true" nature of God, would turn out to be one and the same deity - this question does not matter here. We are dealing here with deities in the cultural-scientific sense: With different ideas and paradigms, which today also largely shape our world. We cannot know whether there are gods, how many and which ones there are. But we know that ideas really work and move people to action more than anything else. So this is about the ideas that move Allah's fighters. Are some of these ideas already in the textual core of Islam? Or are they all just adding on from the edge?
It is not about making our dialogue with Muslims more difficult. On the contrary: you have to get to know the problematic background if you want to have a sensible, because effective, conversation that does not ignore the essence (however, it is a little more difficult with those Muslims who reject a critical and distanced attitude to the sources of their religion , consciously identify with it as devout Muslims and therefore most likely have no interest in getting help out from the outset).
The point is not to deny the existence of positives in the Islamic religion and its basic texts and to reduce Islam to the dangerous. But the positive cannot relativize the dangerous. The problem of the dangerous or negative must be viewed as such, i.e. in and of itself: Even the order to shoot at the inner-German border was not improved by the fact that the health system was equally accessible to all citizens of the GDR.
It is not about invalidating the problematic through historical contextualization. Allah's fighters - like most Muslims in Islamic countries - do not read Islamic treatises, but rather the basic texts of Islam, which for them belong in the context of today just as they did in the past. Therefore it is not a question of examining Euro-Islamic approaches. If Euro-Islam is derived just as well from the basic texts of Islam as Islamic violence, then it may represent an equally plausible path for Muslims. But it does not have to convince us Westerners, who do not orientate themselves on the basic texts of Islam anyway, but the masses in the Islamic countries.
And after all, this is not about race, nation or the like. The milieu of Allah's fighters includes Arabs, Persians or Iranians, Pakistani or Indo-Aryans, Indonesians etc. etc. as well as Westerners who have converted to Islam. What unites them all is solely the religious element.

After these general preliminaries, I may now concretize the topic:
First of all, the fundamental question arises: Do Allah's fighters abuse Islam? Or do they rather put ideas into action or misdeeds that are written in the basic texts of Islam?
Allah's fighters, the so-called "radicals" (in whose eyes and according to which criteria?), Are all inspired by Islamic basic texts and derive their crimes from them. We too are therefore dependent on these scriptures if we want to understand their Islamic motivation.
At this point, however, one must be careful: There are people in the West who have set themselves the goal of drawing the public's attention to the problems of Islam, but who also quote contemporary thinkers, preachers, etc. These actors in Islam are enjoying increasing popularity, but no one can say that just they represent Islam. We have already stated above that quantitative aspects do not play a role here: what is there is there - and even if Islamic violence were a marginal phenomenon, Allah's fighters would not be offended by this quantitative fact. However, this principle works in both directions. Because even for those Muslims who distance themselves from Islamically motivated violence, the principle applies: "What is there, there is." Therefore, the "radicals", even if they lay claim to it, cannot represent the whole of Islam, which is already heterogeneous and has not been officially represented at least since the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate. In order to present the problems of Islam for the West, one must therefore restrict oneself to basic works. How far the apples of today's thinkers and preachers with whom we are confronted fall from the tribe will then be self-evident.
Anyone who is interested in Islam in general and its problems in particular probably already knows about this or that passage, for example in the Koran, which explicitly calls for violence against people of different faiths in general and Christians / Jews in particular. Anyone who does not know them has enough opportunities on the Internet to find out more. Here I would like to use two apparently connected passages from the Koran as an example, which can be used to illustrate the problem. But I have one more preliminary remark: It is not at all easy to find a good translation of the Koran because many gloss over the original. Where one work dares to translate literally, the other softens - and vice versa. In the following I have therefore put together an eclectic version, where I have quoted the less euphemistic formulation for each sentence. The first addition in the square brackets (as well as other parts of the sentence) comes from the translation of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo:
Sura 4, v.30: "But whoever is after injustice and transgression [and disregards God's legal provisions], we will throw him into the fire. That is easy for God."
Sura 4, v.56: "Those who deny our signs, we will throw into the fire. When their skin is burned, we replace them [= the skin, ie with a fresh one], so that they can fully enjoy the pain. God is omnipotent and omnipotent. "
Now it is the case that some people want to relate this passage to hell, which is spoken of in other verses. If I were Muslim, I would ask myself how one can interpret Allah, who is usually indicated in the Qur'an as "He", as an agent (in the hereafter), where the unbelievers, although with Allah's express support, are clearly pluralistic or multiple agents ("we") are thrown into the fire etc., and how that is compatible with the extremely monotheistic character of Islam. But the question of how plausible this interpretation appears is completely irrelevant here because it has very little - if anything - to do with Allah's fighters, who seem to think little of such exegetical acrobatics, impressive as it is. The only important question is that it can help us to understand Allah's fighters:
How plausible is it to understand the verses as they are actually written?
Obviously very plausible. Apparently there can be no question of abuse of these verses by Allah's fighters.

In addition to the Koran, there are also non-Koranic traditions in Islam about Allah's messengers, the so-called "Hadith". One of the most important collections of canonical hadiths is called "Sahih al-Bukhari" (it is advisable to look up all of this). Just as with the Koran, in the case of the hadith collections it does not matter at all whether Allah's Messenger really said everything that is ascribed to him in the various collections (by the way, only after careful selection). The only important thing in this context is the fact that they are each considered authentic in Islam. The Sahih al-Bukhari collection is canonical among the Sunnis, who make up around 80% of Muslims worldwide:
Vol. 4, Book 52, Point 176:
Allah's Apostle said, "You (ie Muslims) will fight with [here: against] the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, 'O' Abdullah (ie slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him. '"
Vol. 4, Book 52, Point 177:
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with [here: against] the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. 'O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him. '"
I took the quotes from the website of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement at the University of South Carolina, so they are in English. The quote is cited twice in the collection because it is a different tradition, i.e. two different sources. In German, No. 177 says: "The hour will not be ready (i.e. it will not be the time) until you (Muslims) fight the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will hide will say: 'Oh, Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him!' "Said time is the end time. That means: For 80% of devout Muslims - that is roughly the proportion of Sunnis, although we are not talking about those who distance themselves from these basic scriptures - the Jews must be fought and (with the help of the stones) completely and without exception destroyed, so that the Islamic history of salvation can advance.
A similar quote brings another, also central, canonical and authoritative collection, namely the "Sahih Muslim":
Book 41, position 6985:
The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: "Muslim, the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him! " But the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
In German it says:
The last hour will not come unless the Muslims will fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them until the Jews hide behind a stone or a tree, when a stone or a tree will say, "Muslim, servant Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him! " But the gharqad tree won't say it because that is the tree of the Jews.
In some countries around the world this is part of the school curriculum. So here the same questions arise:
Is the violence of Allah's fighters interpreted into it? Or is the violence already in the text?
Do we wonder that Allah's fighters do not read scientific treatises? Or can these passages also be understood without scientific contextualization (if a "contextualization" of such clear words is at all possible)?
Does the relation to practice seem vague here? Or is it understandable why Allah's fighters not only read and understand these words of Islam, but also put them into practice?
And finally: may those who can be shown to be inspired by such clear words be called "radical" Muslims? Doesn't this mean that the problem is projected away from the basic scriptures of Islam onto the "radicals"?
(Likewise, by the way, with Achmadinejad, who can by no means be dismissed as a "radical" or "madman". Rather, he is a Shiite believer and therefore consistently acting Muslim who, in harmony with his denomination, wished the world to the return of the Mahdi, his Messiah, to prepare.)
And, as I said, these are only examples ...

Certainly one can now object: But there are also dire instructions in the Bible! About the "eye for an eye" etc.!
Well, that's true (see Ex. 21: 23-25, Lev. 24: 19-20), although in no way can it be equated with the blanket, brutal calls for murder and extermination in the basic works of Islam. In addition, it has been abolished in both Judaism and Christianity. There are quite a few equivalents for the additional works of the hadith collections: In Judaism it is the Talmudic literature, in Christianity the New Testament comes into consideration. In the Talmudic literature this instruction was converted into financial compensation and thus canceled. In Christianity it was overridden by the idea of ​​the Old Testament, but especially on the basis of Mat. 5: 38-39.
In contrast, the Islamic additional literature does not try to sublimate the hate speech at all. On the contrary: it expresses itself even more sharply. If there is a radicalization here, it is probably not among those who implement these instructions of Islam, but in Islam itself.

I emphasize again: Muslims who - such as the Euro-Islamists and among them, if I am not mistaken, my chronologist colleague Hussein Hamdan - distance themselves from these and similar passages are not even discussed here. But these (in global terms very few) Muslims have very little or nothing to do with the many others, indeed with the overwhelming majority, who do not distance themselves from them, but have such instructions taught in schools.
And what is even more important: Those who distance themselves from it cannot force this rejection of the basic fonts on the others. And even if they could: are they even allowed to? One would like to say: devout Muslims are entitled to their basic scriptures own Religion. And this right is also valid if what it says there is sometimes not so much to the liking of the Euro-Islamists or us Westerners. The problem does not seem to lie with the people who understandably profess the basic scriptures of their religion and sometimes even put them into practice. If so, then the problem lies in the religion to which they profess and in the basic scriptures that they put into practice even where the Euro-Islamists would not.
Finally, we return to the Qur'an to look at two more examples that are also taught in Islamic schools and enable the Islamic world to speak of Christians, and especially Jews, without the words "Christians" and "Jews" in their mouths to take:
Sura 5, v.51:
"O you believers! Do not take the Jews and the Christians as friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever takes them as friends belongs to them. God certainly does not lead unjust people right."
Sura 5, v.59-69:
Say: Oh, people of the Scriptures [= Christians and Jews]! Do you resent us because we believe in God, the revelation sent down to us and the revelations sent down before, and because most of you are wicked? " Say: Shall I tell you who will incur the worst punishment from God? These are the people from your ranks whom Allah has cursed and whom He is angry with, and of whom He has made monkeys and pigs and who serve the devil the lowest level, since they have strayed the furthest from the straight path. "

I am looking forward to a serious discussion that will keep an eye on what this is about - and what it is not about and what is not even part of the topic, as explained at the beginning. Please note: Naughty or aggressive comments will not be published. This may also be the case with bottomless expressions of opinion (e.g. ad hominem) or non-argued statements. Otherwise, if you disagree with me, you are very welcome to explain why I perceive the situation incorrectly: Convince me!
See you soon
Yoav Sapir
Graduated monkey and renowned pig


Also known in some places as the Rebbe von Krechzn *, the author of "un / belonging" is actually called Yoav Sapir. He was born in 5740 (in Christian: 1979) in Haifa, Israel, and later lived for a long time in Jerusalem, whose numinous mood apparently left a deep impression on him. In addition, he completed his M.A. degree there, during which he became v. a. dealt with the image of the Jew in the GDR feature film. Since summer 2006 he has been at academic institutions in German-speaking Central Europe: initially in Vienna, later in Berlin and then in Heidelberg. After an internship in the Bundestag, he is now working independently in Berlin as an author, speaker and translator from and into Hebrew. He also offers Tours of Jewish Berlin. * krechzn (Yiddish): groan; wail passionately.