Hans-Peter Raddatz is a German scholar who specializes in Islam, sharia, and the Middle East. He was interviewed on Deutschlandradio last Saturday on the topic “Wildly escalating financial influence from Islam.”
Many thanks to JLH for the translation (see the bottom of this post for links to previous translations of Hans-Peter Raddatz):
Raddatz Considers Muslim Brotherhood Incapable of Democracy
Orientalist warns of growing influence of Islam in Europe
Given their interpretation of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood is not equipped for democracy, says Hans-Peter Raddatz. That is, Muslims, who are raised in a very religious environment are not free in the exercise of their will. So the democratic rules of play in Europe are “frayed away” by Muslim immigrants.
[The interviewer is Jürgen Liminski.]
Liminski: It was a relatively calm night in Cairo. The situation is tense, the country is divided, but the Muslim Brotherhood is apparently in the weaker position, not only because their call is bringing fewer people to the street than the great mass of people who have tasted freedom and the might of the Street after Mubarak’s fall. No, most important of all, the military has made up its mind, and is clearly on the side of the people.
Almost exactly a year ago to the day, the president of Egypt at that time announced the dismissal of the head of the military and the chief of the secret service, abrogated the prerogatives of the military in relation to the president and assumed new full powers himself. The military was caught off-guard, and democracy on the Nile shanghaied. Are the Muslim Brotherhood and its form of Islam even capable of democracy? And if not, what is the prospect for the Islamic population in Europe? To discuss these and other questions, I welcome the Islam scholar Hans-Peter Raddatz, His latest work, a translation of the Egyptian-born historian, Bat Ye’or, is entitled Europe and the Coming Caliphate. Good morning, Mr. Raddatz.
Raddatz: Good morning, Mr. Liminski.
Liminski: Mr. Raddatz, things are still tense in Cairo. Is the Muslim Brotherhood incapable of democracy?
Raddatz: That is a very clear question which must, all in all, be answered “No,” because the democratic constitution is not the banner under which the Muslim Brotherhood has marched for almost 100 years. Its task is the re-establishment of the laws of Allah in the Islamic states.
Liminski: What I asked — perhaps “incapable of democracy” — you said “No,” so you are saying…
Raddatz: Pardon…naturally they are not capable of democracy because they represent the law of Allah, the well-known sharia. Sorry.
Liminski: But the president was legally and democratically elected.
Raddatz: I will leave that an open question. Not everyone is convinced that the elections took place under the right conditions. If they did, then that would simply have been the first step in a long process whose conclusion is by no means democracy, but first an uncertain phase, perhaps even broken up by civil war. It is not as if the Muslim Brotherhood had less influence than the strength of the people. The strength of the people is composed very much of the strength of Islam. That is, we are confronting a very unclear situation which, in Egypt’s case, is just now being controlled by the army. The army is the force — new and not new, but new in these prevailing circumstances — which has come forward to control this confusing situation. And which, of course, is under the heavy influence of the Western powers.
Liminski: If, as you say, Islamists are principally incapable of democracy, what is the situation with Muslims in Europe?
Raddatz: The first basic assumption must be that they grew up under Islamic principles, that is, strenuously religious and indeed dictatorially religious conditions, and now in Europe, they are under the prevalent Islamic representatives. This means not absolutely free to make their own decisions. In this regard, it may be assumed — and there are many indicators of it — that naturally Western, liberal democratic influence is making itself felt. On the other hand, we must not forget that there are strong collaborative structures between Islamic representatives and European political ruling classes, and this is the central consideration of the book you just mentioned Europe and the Coming Caliphate. The central point of this book is that we are confronting a very, very difficult situation. Essentially, we have an increasing mass of immigrants of Islamic background, and simultaneously a growing, hardly insignificant influence of its representatives on the indigenous ruling classes in Europe and the United States. Finally, do not forget the wildly escalating financial influence from Islam through world organizations like OIC (Organization for Islamic Cooperation). And the great enterprises, the global concerns in which Muslim investors participate so heavily and in increasing measure, including the refinancing of the EU states, play a very important role.
Liminski: Mr. Raddatz…
Raddatz: Yes. Pardon me.
Liminski: The book — we want to mention that it is published by Duncker and Humblot — has the subtitle: “Islam and the Radicalization of Democracy.” Does that mean that it is not Islam that is changing, but democracy? What is changing in it?
Raddatz: That is a very important question. Democracy in general in Europe has long since changed, in the sense that the parties, not only in Germany, but in all the larger EU countries, have become so standardized that Islamic interpretation forms the central point of EU foreign policy. So people like Solana and Delors and later of course Barroso and company are constantly announcing that Islam and the region of Islam are the center of EU foreign policy. And the author of this book offers seamless documentation of how this has happened. Here it is possible to recognize that democratic rules of play — without even being directly nudged by Islam — have been worn away by the visible, gradual surrender of the sovereignty of EU countries to the EU.
The EU itself, especially the Commission, as is universally known, is not even elected. To that extent, we are faced with a very diffuse structure which excludes us 500 million Europeans.
Liminski: One more, short question — we still have a minute. Is this the famous “clash of civilizations” or a diffuse clash?
Raddatz: In my estimation, that is not so much a clash, because the mass of the population is becoming more and more politically incapable and has other priorities. There is a gradual melding of interests at the upper levels, and the elites of Islam, Europe and America and elsewhere can — like all elites through history — come to terms without any religious influence. At the level of the elites, religion plays only a secondary role.
Liminski: Islam scholar, Hans Peter Raddatz. With Bar Ye’or, he has authored the book, “Europe and the Coming Caliphate.” Many of this morning’s subjects can be read about in greater detail there. Thank for your time. Mr. Raddatz.
Raddatz: My pleasure.
Previous posts by or about Hans-Peter Raddatz: