Islamism – Arguments for Judgement in Theses
BY: EBERHARD TROEGER
1. Islamism is a modern religious ideology. It arose from the recollection of the idealistically understood early period of Islam – the model from Medina with its unity of religious and political Islam – and out of the Muslim’s examination of the modern informed thinking of the West together with its ideology - Rationalism, Idealism, Humanism, Socialism, Nationalism, Fascism.
2. In the center of Islamism is the thought of unity: Allah’s unity, the unity of the Islamic world wide community (Arabic ‘umma’) and the unity of the society under the commands of Allah (Arabic ‘Sharia’). In this respect Ahmad von Denffer writes “Oppositely, insight is an incentive for Muslims, who exert themselves with all their strength, to transform this society into an Islamic one.” (1)
3. Islamism wants an Islam that influences all spheres of human life, from individual to family to social and political order. Islamism bears, therefore, unmistakable totalitarian courses. In the examination of western thinking, it has grasped rational thinking – “Islam is logical”, humanistic thinking – “Islam is appropriate for mankind”, socialistic thinking – “Islam creates a unified, race-free society”, nationalistic thinking – “Islam creates a unified nation”, and even fascist thinking – “Muslims are above other peoples”. In this respect, a high ranking official from the Turkish IGMG states, “Our own liberation is not enough for us. We exert ourselves for the liberation of all mankind and are the representatives of a society that is not afraid of any kind of selflessness… The liberation of mankind, its wellness and happiness are possible through the Koran.” (2) Dr. Nadeem Elyas, the head of the Muslim Central Council in Germany (ZMD) writes „Islam as an integral teaching regulates all spheres of life, sets the ethical framework for interpersonal relationships and provides the principles that political action and the building of a state should be oriented upon. The Islamic societal and state relevant examples, however, only have validity for Muslims and only have a binding character in an Islamic state with a majority of Islamic citizens.” (3)
4. Islamism embraces a wide spectrum. Islamists want to reach their goals wither through peaceful means such as advertising for Islam, exemplary living, social action, penetration and saturation of the society, marching through the institutions, using democratic voting, business pressure, and other means or through Muslim radicalization and through revolutionary fighting including the use of violence and even terrorism. “Some of the extreme-Islamic groups active in German territory do not want to just replace their native lands’ existing state and social order with a Sharia-(Islamic rights system) based Islamic social system, but they seek the erection of an anti-liacal theocracy in the whole world and, on the way there, want to make a corresponding social life for their increasing followers in Germany possible. The Islamists assume that, the Sharia, the Islamic rights order that is derived from the Koran and Sunna (in written form, the Hadith, documented acts and sayings of the prophets), is a predetermined all-life-sphere-encompassing Islamic social order, that is valid to be realized everywhere. The social-political expectations of Islam corresponds to the human nature due to its godly origin as the only social system complete in all aspects. After the failure of communism and, in their opinion, the looming breakdown of capitalism, Islam will continue in its triumphal march as the “third way” and will manage the “civilized” society that all people have longed for as a state power that is no longer dependent upon the despotism of man, but is from god alone. Due to its claims for sovereignty, the Islamic expectations collide with the fundamental principles of fundamental liberal democratic order, such as respect for human rights, for example, the equality of women, the principle of the peoples’ sovereignty, the separation of powers, the majority party principle, the right to an education, and the practice of parliamentary opposition.” (4)
5. It is wrong, to only name radical Muslims Islamists. The radical Islamists can be recognized in that they want to reach their goals as quickly as possible, while the moderate Islamists have more patience and are for this reason not as easily recognized as Islamists. Sometimes one must look very closely to recognize their ideological thoughts and goals. Ahmad von Denffer wrote: “Rather the fundamentally applicable restriction according to the Koran and Sunna that no obedience can occur or be allowed to occur that would lead to disobedience to Allah.” (5) “For this reason, the idea that where ever they live, they are a part of the worldwide ‘umma’, the fellowship of the believers, and that this should essentially determine their identity is important for the Muslim.” (6) The German federal government detects that “a tactical relationship to the question of the use of violence in the Islamic political understanding is immanent. The Islamic theorist’s view includes all means to a victory under ‘Jihad’ (literally: inner fight, exertion or holy war) as an instrument for the realization of the Islamic societal order. So can the majority of the Islamic groups from the Arabic region support the use of violence as a means to push their political goals through. The group with the most members in German territory, the Turkish IGMG, uses political activity to activate change in the societal order in Turkey and Germany.” (7)
6. Islamism is the most influential movement in the Islamic world today, as it dominates the media and educational centers. At least a fourth of the Muslims worldwide have some kind of Islamic thought, even when they do not necessarily vote for a radical Islamic party. “The political Islam or Islamism is and remains the largest ideological power in the region from North Africa to Southeast Asia.” “No other ideology has even a distantly comparative influence.” “If we want it or not: In the future, Islam will be, in differing appearances, the predominant intellectual trend in a giant region, and this process is just beginning.” (8) “In the third world, Islam is attractive and the last reason is not because Jihad promises weapons against the overly powerful West. This is true in the Arab world as well. There the political Islam has been the domineering ideology for the last three decades.” (9)
7. It should not be expected that Islam will lose its power quickly like a western ideology as it is a religious ideology, deeply anchored in the hearts of the people.
8. The strength of Islamism does not lie in the mobilization of the poor masses in the Islamic world. It has its basis rather in the masses of youth, who often experience a half-education in the schools and universities and who are susceptible to radical ideas. For this reason, Islamism will not be overcome through prosperity alone, but more probable through being educated to think critically.
9. To overcome Islam as an ideology, a continual, honest dialog as well as state power is necessary to show the Islamists their boundaries. The democratic states must resist the Islamic demand for totalitarianism. “An Islamic world is almost impossible in a foreseeable time range. But Islam has an extraordinary integrative power that does not take its eye off the distant goal of ruling the world despite group differences.” (10)
10. From a Christian standpoint, Islam is an idealistic concept that will fall due to reality, in other words, the inability to conquer evil. Islamism will end in a deep disappointment. A chronological prognosis is however no possible.
11. The best answer to Islamism is therefore the message of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. The real state of mankind before God is only seen in the gospel and only the gospel has a realistic answer to the idealistic desires of Islam. This message becomes believable when Islamists experience Christians who live a forgiven life and obey God’s will. The encounter with Islamists calls Christians back to their original calling.
(1) Al-Islam. Zeitschrift von Muslimen in Deutschland. 2/2002, p. 14.
(2) ‚Milli Gazete’ (Nationale Zeitung) vom 20.03.2000 (Verfassungsschutzbericht 2000) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 21.9.01: „Im Namen einer göttlichen Ordnung. Sicherheitsgefährdende und extremistische Bestrebungen von Ausländern“, p. 10.
(3) Das weiche Wasser wird besiegen den harten Stein. Islamischer Informationsdienst Aachen. 1997, S. 122f., quoted in: Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Große Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers, Erwin Marschewski (Recklinghausen), Wolfgang Zeitlman, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion der CDU/CSU, Drucksache 14/4530 vom 8.11.2000, p. 73).
(4) Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Große Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers, Erwin Marschewski (Recklinghausen), Wolfgang Zeitlman, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion der CDU/CSU, Drucksache 14/4530 vom 8.11.2000, p. 67f.
(5) Ahmad von Denffer in: Al-Islam. Zeitschrift von Muslimen in Deutschland. Nr.2/ 2002, p. 13.
(6) Ibid. p. 15.
(7) Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Große Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers, Erwin Marschewski (Recklinghausen), Wolfgang Zeitlman, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion der CDU/CSU, Drucksache 14/4530 vom 8.11.2000, p. 67f.
(8) Graham S. Fuller. Ehemaliger Vizepräsident des National Intelligence Council bei der CIA, USA, in: Der Koran passt zur Freiheit. Fundamentalismus: Liberalisierung und Demokratisierung der muslimischen Welt können nur von innen erfolgen. – Rheinischer Merkur Nr.12, 2002, p. 8.
(9) Rainer Hermann, Die Ich-Erzählung Gottes. Hürden und Sachkasse im Dialog mit dem Islam, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 28.12.01.
(10) Ursula Spuler-Stegemann, Muslime in Deutschland. Nebeneinander oder Miteinander, Freiburg 1998, p. 333.